Kate Atkinson has become the new queen of detective fiction. A professor of mine almost obliged me to read her and I took the wrong turn of waiting a year. Shame on me. She is a great author. My first choice was When will there be Good News?
Summary from Amazon:
On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason’s family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna’s life is changed forever…
On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound…
At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency…
These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson, the critically acclaimed author who Harlan Coben calls “an absolute must-read.”.
The first thing that attracted me to the story was the setting and Reggie’s job as a nanny. But, once I was reading the book, I liked everything about it, not only the Edinburgh as a northern and cold city, but how it affects the characters. Then, I fell in love with Joanna Mason.
The characters are incredibly complex and although they come from a previous novel, it is incredibly easy to identify yourself with any of them. They are incredibly human and strong and at times, I found myself wishing Joanna was my friend and I could help Reggie. In fact, I have to admit I found Joanna quite inspiring, even a role model to face everyday life and just, be a better person.
The style is quite simple, yet it catches your attention and makes you keep on reading. The story is divided into chapters that also help to make it incredibly addictive. Despite of this description, that makes it sound as the usual bestseller, there is something high-quality about the prose. It is well-constructed and incredibly well-organized. There are four voices: Reggie, Joanna, Jackson and Louise and they all manage to come together in very different and unexpected ways.
The plot is very rich thanks to the different four points of view and I would like to highlight Atkinson’s mastery to create such realistic characters, flawed yet with the opportunity to redeem themselves at every minute. Despite their problems and flaws they are always willing to keep living and improve their lives, no matter how difficult it seems. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
I loved and adored this book. It was set in December (I read it last November) and there was a Christmasy tone that made the plot, not literally, full of lights and red and happiness. The characters were perfectly designed to fit into this setting and even improved the tone with their own experiences and optimism. To prove my point, here you have some of the most inspiring quotes:
Everything about her life was just lovely.
She had been to a place no one would choose to go to, and she had come back.
Live your life, don’t endure it.
No, not those kinds of things. I mean the way we live our lives. There isn’t a template, a pattern that we’re supposed to follow. There ‘s no one watching us to see if we’re doing it properly, there is no properly, we just make it up as we go along.