Transcription

Transcription – Kate Atkinson

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Highly anticipated, Atkinson’s new novel follows themes started in Life After Life and A God in Ruins: World War 2 and parallel time shifts. In one story strand it is 1940, Juliet Armstrong is recruited by the secret service, and she learns to live a fractured life of different personae.

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Highly anticipated, Atkinson’s new novel follows themes started in Life After Life and A God in Ruins: World War 2 and parallel time shifts. In one story strand it is 1940, Juliet Armstrong is recruited by the secret service, and she learns to live a fractured life of different personae. One duty is to transcribe the bugged conversation of a group of fascists and an undercover British spy, Godfrey Toby, a shadowy character whose fate becomes linked to her own. The second strand is the 1950s and Juliet is now working for the BBC. She encounters Godfrey again and this seems to trigger a paranoia more suited to her previous life, in which she becomes convinced that someone is after her. Atkinson’s writing is a joy. Her book manages to be a spy thriller but also a rewarding conceptual story that questions our ideas of reality, identity and patriotism. On top of that is her wry detachment and often very funny take on things British through the voice and thoughts of Juliet.

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