‘Transcription’ by Kate Atkinson
What a disappointment. First, let me add that I loved Kate’s last two novels, ‘Life after Life’ and ‘A God in Ruin’, absolutely gorgeous, well written, innovative… etc. etc, I bought many copies as presents. So I had high hopes, so high that I had bought myself a signed hard copy as a treat. (I’m a sucker for signed copies, soz..)
But this one? Oh dear. I struggled to like the characters (I didn’t), I struggled to get a sense of time and place and I struggled to read it to the end, quite frankly. Maybe it was just me… not everyone in our book group felt the same at all.
The story takes place during the second world war, a period that was brought to live so vividly in the other books, but here… mmmhhh… I kept forgetting the characters were living during that awful time. The main protagonist is a young girl roped into working for the Secrete Services that spends her days transcribing banal recording of ‘traitors’ conversations… transcripts that you keep thinking, and then end up desperately hoping, they might mean something/anything… but don’t. There’s a gay boss, there’s a mysterious boss, there are Nazi’s sympathisers and bad guys and bad ladies, a dog, a mad Hungarian, a wool shop for half a page… and you’re never sure who’s who and what’s what.
It’s so so boring. Bit harsh I know, but I have so little time to read for pleasure these days I got really frustrated with it.
Please please, I’m open for discussion and if you’ve read and loved it… do explain what I missed. I’m open to persuasion but you better have a good case!