Saturday, March 21, 2009
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
When Will There Be Good News?: A Novelis the second novel that I've read by Kate Atkinson. As I was reading it, I realized that it is written very similar to Case Histories: A Novel, her other book that I've read. Not necessarily in the story line, but in the way that the story is presented. It is an intriguing style and one that I really enjoy.
To picture her style, imagine a few pieces of yarn, laid side by side, and parallel. They go on for a while not touching and the one overlaps one, and then another overlaps another. This continues slowly until eventually all of the pieces of yarn are woven together. This is what her writing is like. At first, you don't see how the characters are related at all. And I admit, that I am sometimes confused, but then you start having these a-ha moments. Where you think...hey, what a minute, is she the girl that he saw at the beach?
In Atkinson's stellar third novel to feature ex-cop turned PI Jackson Brodie (after One Good Turn), unrelated characters and plot lines collide with momentous results. On a country road, six-year-old Joanna Mason is the only survivor of a knife attack that leaves her mother and two siblings dead. Thirty years later, after boarding the wrong train in Yorkshire, Brodie is almost killed when the train crashes. He's saved by 16-year-old Regina Reggie Chase, the nanny of Dr. Joanna Hunter, née Mason. In the chaos following the crash, Brodie ends up with the wallet of Andrew Decker, the recently released man convicted of murdering the Mason family. Enter DCI Louise Monroe, Brodie's former love interest, who's tracking Decker because of a recent case involving a similar family and crime. When Dr. Hunter disappears, Reggie is convinced she's been kidnapped and enlists the reluctant Brodie to track her down. A lesser author would buckle under so many story lines, but Atkinson juggles them brilliantly, simultaneously tying up loose ends from Turn and opening new doors for further Brodie misadventures.
I know it sounds confusing and convoluted, but she does it so subtly, it isn't jarring at all. After reading the Amazon reviews, I realized that there are 3 books, so I am definitely going to find the second one.
I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars.