Sunday, January 02, 2011

Kate Atkinson, again

Just before the Christmas holiday (and yes, retired people can have them, when they give up cooking and visit their families and abdicate responsibility for their own lives) I finished reading Kate Atkinson's latest novel, Started Early, Took my Dog. I sat up late reading so that I'd finish it before Christmas took over, and I'm glad that I did - though I think I shall want to read it again.

This is the fourth book to feature Jackson Brodie, who sidles into the plot some time after I became hooked on the story of Tracy, ex-cop, security firm owner, lonely and overweight. It was Tracy and her acquisition of a child that had me reluctant to move around the plot - for Atkinson never leaves you with only one strand to follow - and Brodie and the dog that enters his life who had me laughing aloud, sometimes in horror. The story is dark in places, and complex in its interweaving of time-scales and histories, which is where the second reading will come in - I don't feel I'll fully appreciate the book until I do this. I loved the details of the past - Vesta curries, Smash instant mash - and the fact that they shared a place with the use of Twitter and Facebook. Too often, I feel, novelists opt for a present that seems never to have changed - kind of Orwellian, in a way - and forget that readers might share a past with the characters.

I don't think I've really explained why I'd recommend this, other than that it's the usual well-written, gripping story with a twist in its tail. You can see my first thoughts on it here, but apart from that just go and read it for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. OK - another book to add to the list. All good wishes for 2011