Friday, May 20, 2011

‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ by Kate Atkinson

20 April 2011

‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ is Kate Atkinson’s fourth Jackson Brodie novel and follows ‘When Will There Be Good News’ (reviewed here in September 2009). Reading ‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ I initially worried that it so closely follows the format of its predecessors. Once again we see the action through the eyes of a range of third-person narratives which gradually coincide and overlap. Once again the book starts with a flashback to a violent crime many decades in the past which you know is going to have some bearing on the present-day events that follow. Once again there are some well-hidden twists and some great characters. But my initial scepticism that Atkinson has settled into a formulaic approach was allayed because the plot is incredibly gripping and drives you through the book’s 500 pages at some speed. The story is often grim and sad, though there are some very funny passages. And while the main plotlines are resolved and explained by the end there are some deliberately ambiguous loose ends left dangling. This manages to both create a satisfying conclusion and simultaneously to leave you scouring the details in your mind for days after you have finished reading. ‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ is a very assured and clever piece of writing.



At 7:38 am, Anonymous France said...

Ms Atkinson seasons her novel with wit, perfect timing and a humor that will catch you off-guard when you least expect it. I found myself laughing and smiling often as I read this book. While she is astute and serious about her main and parallel storylines, and there is much to learn here with regard to morality and choices, her subtle, silver-handed delivery with its tinge of the obsurd is unique to her style. It's no wonder that she has won awards for her previous work.


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