Tuesday 30 October 2018

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

This Goodreads blurb is quite descriptive, and surprisingly, contains not too much detail.

" ‘Think of it as an adventure , Perry had said right at the beginning of all this. And it had seemed like one. A bit of a lark, she had thought. A Girls’ Own adventure.’In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence."

I listened to half of this Audible book on a long roadtrip, and loved what I heard. Unfortunately, I did doze off twice on the trip, and this is the kind of book in which one cannot do that. Fortunately, my local bookstore had a copy, and so I had to wait until I had a few free hours to skim through and catch up, which I did with relish.

Kate Atkinson's prose is such that you enjoy it more in written form than listened to, but in this case Audible narrator Fenella Woolgar was superb as she brings life to the brilliant dialogue she is supplied - so not much is 'lost' in the listening. I do love the 'from England' narrators - she read with such insight, her accents were en pointe (I loved Godfrey especially) and her delightful subtle wryness a thing of great beauty to absorb. I will be searching out all her other productions and relishing them. Ms. Atkinson's style in this work was to drop little references and clues - to hydrangeas, teacups and the like that link the  different parts together in a way that was smartly done, and I loved all the rhyming words in Juliet's head.

I cannot review this without reference to the controversial ending (without spoilers of course). It seems that those who enjoyed Life after Life (one of Ms Atkinson's others) hated this, and vice versa. I loved Life after Life. And loved this, including the ending. By the time it came, I was completely riveted, and  on working it out found it immensely satisfying.

5 stars

ISBN: 9780385618731

You may also enjoy The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, or The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George.

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