Tag Archives: Kate Atkinson

Transcription- Kate Atkinson

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review



During the war Juliet Armstrong worked for MI5, just as a secretary though, now she works for the BBC, but something strange is happening, could someone be after Juliet? And what did she actually do during the war?


(You know what is an exciting this as a reviewer? When you get offered a book from an author whose work you previously loved.)

I make no secret of the fact that ‘Life After Life’ is one of my favourite ever books. This makes me sort of apprehensive about approaching a new book by Atkinson, but also super excited. When you loved a book by an author you are going to compare everything else by them to it, which can skew your view a bit. With ‘A God in Ruins’ I think this led to too high an expectation, so I tried to approach ‘Transcription’ as if it wasn’t by the same author (It didn’t really work…expect the comparisons!).

Juliet’s story jumps between her life during and shortly after the war. We start off with her life ‘now’ which I think was a good choice because otherwise we would think that it was just a story about a secretary- not exactly the most exciting premise for a novel!

It was the war side of the story which initially made me want to read the book however (we all know how I love a war story). In terms of being a war story it wasn’t exactly classic war literature. Most of Juliet’s job was transcribing conversations between an undercover agent and Nazi sympathisers in the UK. After some time Juliet’s life gets more exciting, but what really interested me, and kept me turning pages was that we didn’t seem to have the full story.

You see Juliet is being threatened, possibly followed, and we as the reader don’t know why, or even if the reason is legitimate. That means that everything you read you are trying to read more into. Did she do something awful that we haven’t yet found out about? Are there parts of her story that are more than they seem?

Whilst taking part (largely) during wartime I wouldn’t really say that ‘Transcription’ is a war story, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it.

It isn’t quite to the level of ‘Life After Life’, I am likely to suggest it to others, but I am unlikely to force it on anyone (even though it doesn’t contain a woman dying multiple times…according to my sister that’s a downer…who knew?). Having said that it did get pretty close, and it is one of those strange books that gets better the more you think about it.


‘Transcription’ is released tomorrow (6/9/18) but you can pre-order it now:

Hardback (£13.99)

Kindle (£9.99)

Paperback- released April ’19 (£7.91)


Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical

Review of the Year 2013- Fiction

Only three 5/5 books this year, but the competition is still fierce! Although if you’re a regular visitor you may know which book I will pick as my book of the year…

Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Is the story of Ursula. Ursula lives, and dies, and lives, and dies, again, and again, and again. It’s a sort of dramatic groundhog day. Living the same life again, and again and again, but things change. Ursula doesn’t exactly know about her other lives, just a vague sense occasionally.

The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Is the story of Ichmad. Ichmad is a Palestinian living in an Israeli occupied area. When Ichmad is 12 his father is arrested on terrorist charges and Ichmad’s family get evicted from their house. Ichmad has to start supporting the family.

1Q84- Haruki Murakami

Arguably not a 5/5 book, as I found the beginning difficult. How do you give a blurb for Murakami? Ok so. Tengo and Aoname find themselves in a parallel world. 1984, but with two moons, and little people, and general strangeness. Can they find each other and leave 1Q84 unharmed?

And my book of the year is…

Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life

If you didn’t guess already! I’ve been forcing this book on people all year. It just, wow, swept me away. I couldn’t read anything else afterwards, everything just paled in comparison. I got so involved. I was shouting and Ursula, disappearing, cheering, hoping. READ IT! READ IT NOW!

(Thought I would put up the new cover for interestingness)


Filed under general

Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of Life After Life free of charge by the publisher (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?


I really did not want this book to end, it was, just, wow, there’s no words! I’m sad that it ended when it did. I have that sort of melancholy feeling you get from finishing a book that’s really special. I can’t remember the last time I felt that, maybe as far back as The Elegance of the Hedgehog (and that was back in 2010)? In some way it’s greater because the story didn’t have to end there. The nature of the story means it never really had to end, although I suppose if it didn’t end Atkinson would still be writing it and I wouldn’t have got to read it at all!

How can I describe this book? It’s a sort of epic Groundhog Day. It’s strange how everything seems sort of inevitable, even though Ursula has lived it before, has knowledge from that former life, even though you know she should fix it you’re scared that the same thing will just happen again, and again, and again. You’re shouting at her. You know what’s going to happen and there’s a sadness, and a dread, somehow you don’t think she’ll fix it.

I think that shows something of Atkinson’s writing talent, and ability to get you into a story, that your emotions trump your logic, every, single, time.

I loved Ursula, when everything changed, however she decided to live that life, she was still, undeniably Ursula, and that’s probably a hard thing to achieve. I enjoyed the whole family dynamic too, and that was something which barely changed.

A lot of the story focused around the second world war, which is a period of time I like to read fiction about. It was interesting though because Ursula’s different lives meant you could see the war from different angles, and with a sort of hindsight which was built into the novel, rather than from the reader living in a different time.

I’ve never read any Atkinson before, she’s known for crime stories, which aren’t generally my thing, but I may read more of her now.


Life After Life is released on 14th March, you can pre-order it now:

Kindle (£8.50)

Hardback (£10.63)

Paperback– released September (£10.09)

Other Reviews:

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Have I missed your review? Link me in comments and I’ll add it here.


Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Historical