Visiting Thailand to marry a sex worker, Raymond is informed that his father’s body has been discovered in an isolated villa on the Belgian coast. While his bride embarks on a career in the Dutch and German porn industries, Raymond moves into the villa with the intention of renovating the property.
Life by the sea, however, does not go according to plan.
The Beginning of the End marks the arrival of a bold new talent.
‘I was totally gripped when reading it and was absolutely determined to publish it.’ —Nicholas Royle
‘Like Camus’s L’Etranger rewritten by Michel Houllebecq, with JG Ballard looking over his shoulder …’ —Nicholas Royle
‘The anomie and alienation of Ian Parkinson’s The Beginning of the End is delivered with such stripped down and unforgiving sureness of touch that it becomes hypnotic and deeply disturbing. Somewhere beyond J.G. Ballard’s “death of affect” and the cold, clear eye of the nouveau roman is an endgame territory of shifting dunes, dog walkers, flickering porn channels in empty houses occupied by rodents and foil trays of melting frozen meals-for-one. Venture if you dare.’ —Iain Sinclair
‘Delicious, reckless melancholy reminiscent of Houellebecq.’ —Joe Stretch
‘Written in a spare, dissociated style and including a fair amount of wearily squalid hard-core explicitness, The Beginning of the End won’t be to everyone’s taste, but those who enjoy a good, bleak tale of anomie and alienation can’t go wrong – I found it utterly captivating.’ —Laura Wilson, The Guardian
‘This is a weird, wonderful, troubling concoction of a novel that is utterly compelling. It is hard not to fall on the old page-turner cliché but you really do want to know what happens next and where the story is going. Sometimes it requires the broadest of broad minds. It is an excellent piece of work and I recommend it for originality and freshness and for Ian Parkinson’s talent for making disturbing material so enjoyable.’ —Joe Cushnan
‘The Beginning of the End is not a cosy read, certainly, but it’s brave in subject matter and assured in style. If you are truly put off by graphic sex scenes, it’s probably not for you, but if you don’t mind that, lurking underneath the shock-and-awe tactics is a novel with something unique to say.’ —Elle Thinks Blog
‘There are hints of JG Ballard floating around here, most easily seen in the way his characters engage in detached sex that's just an extension of their porn-watching habits. And the beach on which Raymond lives, the foundations of his beach-house being rapidly eaten away by erosion, awakens memories, intentionally or not, of Camus's L'Etranger. Parkinson nails the tone, telling his story in prose that's spare and functional but not short of style or rhythm either.’ —Alastair Mabbott, The Herald
‘Ian Parkinson's debut novel The Beginning of the End details one man's social alienation and his ultimate descent into severe depression. With its explicit depiction of hard-core sex and its relentless nihilism, this book will not be to everyone's taste. But for those readers who admire JG Ballard's themes of dystopian modernity, they will find Parkinson's debut to be a confident and well-written addition to the genre.’ —BookTrust
‘Both deadly funny and serious in turn, this frantic and scandalous novel marks the arrival of a refreshingly bold new literary voice.’ —Lee Rourke, New Humanist
‘It’s a horrifying tale of degradation and decline set in a haunting, modern-gothic landscape of dunes and ruined villas on the Belgian coast. it's a deeply sinister story of transgressive sex and violent death told in sparse, affectless language that invites comparisons with JG Ballard … Certainly the outstanding debut I've read this year.’ —Will Wiles, Guardian Books Blog
'In Belgium, a social outcast has a debilitating nervous breakdown. Think American Psycho crossed with Limmy’s Dee-Dee. Immersive and gruesome insight into the mind of a man not coping terribly well with mental illness. Rating 4½ out of 5.' —Jim’s Books
'Ian Parkinson has done an excellent job of portraying Raymond, and even the pornographic scenes are narrated in Raymond’s clinical, matter-of-fact tone, as if he was describing the weather. The sparse, pared-down narrative is effective and the short chapters also mean that the novel is an easy read.' —Nudge