Friday, February 5, 2010

When will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson


Okay, have you read Kate Atkinson yet? No? What are you waiting for!?

I was late to the party too. I first read Case Histories early last year. I was astounded by the complex plotting and character development.

When Will There Be Good News is just as wonderful. Former cop turned private detective Jackson Brodie is again featured. So is Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe. These two have a complicated background together and their individual lives are just as muddled. But they're dogged investigators.

The novel opens 30 years in the past. Six year old Joanna Mason is the only survivor of a brutal random attack on her family. Today she is a doctor, with a husband and a young son who is the focus of her being. She employs sixteen year old Reggie as a child care helper. Reggie has lived a hard life so far, but she is highly intelligent and devoted to Dr. Hunter and baby Gabriel. When the doctor and baby go missing, no one but Reggie seems to even note or care that she's gone.

That's the two cent version of the plot as I don't want to give any more away. The plotting is magnificent and the way the different layers unfold and join is just superb. Atkinson tells the same story from the point of view of the four main characters. From each telling we get a little more of the whole, a piece of pertinent information that helps weave the story to it's conclusion.

Just as enthralling is the character development. Each character's personal story, feelings and emotions are so clearly described that they fairly leap off the page. None of the players are cookie cutters either. They're all a little wounded and quirky. Atkinson's sly sense of humour shines through in many of the situations that would normally call for gravity.

When Will There Be Good News has it all - unfortunately I devoured it in two days....

Read an excerpt of When Will There Be Good News.

Join the Kate Atkinson Community and enter to win a tote bag and four Atkinson books! ( US only)

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've got 3 of her books sitting here waiting for some attention from me - I can't wait to read them.

pinkflipflops said...

I tried to buy this from B&N with my xmas gift cards but they did not have it in the store I was in. They had Case Histories, but I wanted to read this one first!

Crystal said...

Great review - this sounds like a very good book. I have been wanting to read Kate Atkinson but haven't had a chance yet. I'm off to check and see if my library has this one.

Kay said...

I keep meaning to read this series. I've read another Kate Atkinson book a long time back. It was not a mystery. It seems that this is a well-loved series though. Thanks for reminding me about it.

justpeachy36 said...

This sounds like a really good book. I've heard a lot of good things about it.

BTW... I gave you a shoutout on my blog today.

http://debsbookbag.blogspot.com/2010/02/giveaway-saturday-7.html

B.Kienapple said...

I'm not usually a mysteries reader but I heard Atkinson was rather literary writer, which your review confirms! It'll probably end up part of my summer reading.

Dar said...

I have this one to read and hope to soon. I've heard so many good things about it.

Marjorie said...

This giveaway is sadly for the
US only.

Luanne said...

That is sad Marjorie, but thanks for pointing it out - I've added that info to the post.

Margie said...

I've seen good reviews of this book. I'd really like to read it.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

carolsnotebook said...

I loved Case Histories, and need to read more.

Jenny WOolf said...

I love Kate Atkinson. To me her novels are what novels should be, a bit like life - a sort of patchwork of interconnecting people. I've often wondered how she does her plots. I came to the conclusion she must start at the end and work backwards. (NB this is a great way to solve mazes!)

I'm consciously trying to emulate Kate's approach in a novel I'm currently writing. But I have just had a non fiction book published (a biography of Lewis Carroll) and so for the past year or so my time has been entirely taken up with that. I often think of my poor novel characters shut in the drawer with nobody taking any notice of them :) cannot wait to get back to them and when I do I will have a Kate Atkinson handy to keep everything on the right track.