Category Archives: Atkinson Kate

February 2015


Rustication by Charles Palliser – 3

A mostly disappointing read. Uses language that is clearly designed to shock, but simply jars for the period of the story. The plot is not as mysterious or tense as it appears to think it is, and seems to suffer from a quite heavy-handed manipulation of characters in order to force a ‘logical’ sequence of events.  The characters are neither clever nor likeable.  It’s a couple of months since I read this book, but this hasn’t done my opinion of it any favours.  Although I haven’t read Palliser’s Quincunx I have only heard good things.  I probably should have read that one, instead…

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson – 4

Revisiting characters from my favourite novel of last year, Life After Life, this is a ‘companion’ rather than a sequel.  Following on from Teddy’s role as a pilot in the war (one of Ursula’s brothers), it spans his life, and those of his wife, dysfunctional daughter and long-suffering grandchildren.

Fantastic, fully rounded, and (in some cases unhappily) believable characters, this is a wonderful and far-reaching story of the ties that bind and the repercussions of decisions long after they are made.  This is not another episode of Life After Life, with events relived over and over, but Atkinson does save a twist of perspective for the final pages.  Although I don’t think it hit quite the same peak as LAL, I liked it a lot.  I thought about it for days afterwards, and am certain I will re-read (and continue to make discoveries) in the future.

I won’t be surprised if another ‘companion’ novel does not appear at some point, as I felt there were some things left noticeably unsaid about some of the peripheral characters (eg Sylvie, Maurice).  While A God in Ruins was complete in itself, there are so many strong characters, it feels like there is a lot of story still to tell…



Feb 2014 Retrospective

What I read in February 2014:

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson *****
How life balances on pinpoint moments, and what happens when circumstances sway one way or the other; the ripple effect.  Wonderful evocation of period & sharp characterisation. My book of the year so far.

Andrew’s Brain by E.L.Doctorow ****
Not at all what I expected & I think not being targeted to the right market. Very readable, very accessible storyline (it’s a love story with a bit of a mystery) whereas the cover blurb makes it seem emotionally disengaged and academic/distant.

The Devil I Know by Claire Kilroy ***(3.5)
 A fairly entertaining read, but ultimately not quite as clever or amusing as I had hoped.


The Four Last Things by Andrew Taylor

DATE FINISHED: October 8th, 2011             

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  The young daughter of a vicar and a policeman is snatched from the garden of her child minder. Will the police be able to catch up with the child-snatcher before it is too late?  As Sally (the mother) is called out to various locations to identify various body parts dressed in her daughter’s clothing, time appears to be of the essence…

THOUGHTS:  This trilogy was first released as 3 separate stand-alone novels which interconnect to tell a fuller story/history behind the motives of a murderer. Read more of this post

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

DATE FINISHED: March 20th, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: Ex-policeman Jackson Brodie is investigating the mysterious adoption of his client from 35 years ago; ex-policewoman Tracy Waterhouse has just bought a child at a bus-stop.  An unknown stranger is on the trail of them both.  What do either of their stories have to do with the murder of a prostitute in the 70s?

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post