The first book by Kate Atkinson I read was Life After Life, which I read before this blog existed, hence I won’t torture you with a review. Then I read a few more and I feel like with every single one I am less and less convinced by Atkinson’s style (Not the End of the World, Jackson Brodie series, Emotionally Weird). It rarely happens to me to get over an author, so it feels a bit odd.
I bought the Transcriptions led by my old liking of Atkinson’s work. I also believe in second and third chances. But I think this did it for me. Kate Atkinson and I are not in tune, as a writer and reader.
The book is a story of Juliet Armstrong. We meet Juliet three times in her life: in the 1940s when she is 18 years old and gets recruited to work in MI5, in the 1950s when she is working at the BBC and her past comes to haunt her and in 1981 when she casts a dying look at her life. The plot, on one hand, is very simple. Juliet while working in MI5 was privy to lots of confidential information, she also worked undercover and witnessed some horrible things happening. While she works at the BBC she meets one of the men she worked with during the war. He denies the connection, but she cannot stop thinking about the past. Also, the present seems to be getting weirder and weirder with threats coming in the mail and people following her.
In all this Juliet remains calm, almost detached. Nothing seems to move her, she keeps her slightly ironic attitude throughout the most upsetting events. And maybe that was the problem for me if the main character does not seem to care too much what happens to her why should I?
The book is perfectly readable and in some moments truly funny, but as a whole, it just didn’t work for me. I’m writing this review a few months after reading it and I honestly cannot remember what the plot was about and I had to reread the last 10 or so pages to remember the ending. Not a good sign if you ask me. And since I had similar feeling about Emotionally Weird I think this will be where my ways will part with Kate Atkinson.
Have you ever fell out of love with an author? Did you found it upsetting?
Quotes from Transcription