Transcription by Kate Atkinson : Here’s my quick book review.
This was such an enjoyable read! I loved every minute of it.
The book opens in 1981 with a bang. On the very first page Juliet Armstrong, the book’s heroine, is hit by a car. But you’re only in 1981 for a few paragraphs before the scene jumps back to 1950.
In this sequence, Juliet is still alive and well and thinks she sees a familiar face from her WWII espionage days. However, when she catches up to him, he blows her off with a quick “I think you have me confused with someone else.” But she knows it was him. Now she’s puzzled, if not alarmed.
But hold on readers because the book takes yet another jump back to the 1940’s when Juliet first finds her way into the world of WWII espionage. She works as a transcriptionist in London during a top secret MI5 operation. It’s a twisty ride from 1940 all the way back to those opening pages in 1981, but it makes for a very engaging read.
This book, Transcription by Kate Atkinson, reminded me of a Hitchcock movie. It’s an elegant literary read, with haunting scenes and perplexing characters. I could picture the whole thing playing out in black and white on the streets of London.
Even the way the plot unfolds, quietly and measured, reminded me of an old film.
It’s not a fast paced book. I don’t mean that it’s a slog at all – I read the book in its entirety in a day and a half because it was so compelling. But if you’re familiar with Atkinson’s writing, then you won’t expect it to be a breezy detective novel. Instead, head into this one expecting an elaborate plot, a nonlinear narrative, and intelligent writing.
If you’re bored with WWII fiction, let me also say this: Transcription is incredibly unique and imaginative. You may have seen spies, London, and MI5 in WWII before, but not like this!
I think that’s what I like best about Kate Atkinson – she’s unpredictable.