Kate Atkinson’s Transcription: The Imaginary Reader and Her Book Stack

Spotted in Sawada Coffee in Chicago. She’s drinking a cortado and next to her copy of Transcript is an old concert ticket she uses as a bookmark. Later in the day she plans on meeting up with friends at Girl and the Goat and getting her favorite drink, the Very Old Fashioned, before returning home to binge watch The Wire.

Other books in her book stack on her nightstand at home:

Annie Hartney’s Rabbit Cake
She likes a narrator with a distinctive voice.
Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity
She has a weakness for spy books.
Dorothy Whipple’s High Wages
She admires strong women who have to do what it takes to make it on their own.
Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette
She missed this one a few years ago and is excited for another page turner and trying to put together another mystery.
Sloane Crosley’s Look Alive Out There
She thoroughly enjoys a dry sarcasm.

My Review

Thank you very much to Penguin Random House UK for the free review copy of Kate Atkinson’s Transcription, which comes out on September 6. Atkinson is an author I’ve been wanting to read for a while now and, wow, her writing delivered. She’s one of those authors who makes you realize just how much you can’t write, you know? Little, seemingly effortless phrases like a worker being “more capable than was strictly necessary” or a neighborhood having “dilapidated raffishness” make me pause slightly in nerdy delight, but don’t distract from the story nor come across as overwrought.

The storylines follow Juliet Armstrong through the war while she originally types transcripts for the British secret service as they attempt to ferret out German sympathizers and then later as we see her inability to leave this life behind. I was swept up in the intrigue and by Juliet’s darkly humored outlook, reluctant to share the book with my husband who was also reading it after seeing it in our suitcase.

The ending did let me down, though. I thought the book’s exciting climax tumbled into a much too fast rundown with an extra twist that wasn’t satisfying for me, although I’m waiting to talk to someone about it to see if my mind changes at all.  Nonetheless, even though I know sometimes an end can ruin a book, I’d honestly still recommend this one if it sounds intriguing to you and I’ll certainly be keeping Atkinson high on my list.

The book comes out on September 25th and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.

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