Monday, 28 July 2008

One Good Turn

Title: One Good Turn

Author: Kate Atkinson

Number of pages: 527

Started: 18 July 2008

Finished: 28 July 2008

Opening words:

"He was lost. He wasn't used to being lost. He was the kind of man who drew up plans and then executed them efficiently, but now everything was conspiring against him in ways he decided he couldn't have foreseen. He had been stuck in a jam on the A1 for two mind-numbing hours so that it was already past the middle of the morning when he arrived in Edinburgh."

Plot summary:

It is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident - an incident which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander - until he becomes a suspect.

With Case Histories, Kate Atkinson showed how brilliantly she could explore the crime genre and make it her own. In One Good Turn she takes her masterful plotting one step further. Like a set of Russian dolls each thread of the narrative reveals itself to be related to the last. Her Dickensian cast of characters are all looking for love or money and find it in surprising places. As ever with Atkinson what each one actually discovers is their true self.

Synopsis taken from Random House.

What I thought:

I quite liked this book, it was very readable and easy to get through. It did, however, have a very convoluted plot, with connections all over the place and people’s paths crossing, unknowingly, on a number of occasions.

This book has been described as ‘literary’, but I’m not entirely sure that I know why. It makes various references to works of literature, but surely that does not in itself make this book literary? I think describing it like that might actually put some people off, as it might give the impression that it is very intellectual, whereas it is actually an easy read.

The plot itself was quite good, if you could keep up with all the connections in it, although perhaps a little far-fetched, by the end. But worth reading and I might give another of her books a go.

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