Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reading matters

Some have noted that posting to this blog has become infrequent since my return from the Sandlands to Munich. There is a very good reason for this. The assignment I have taken on here makes demands of my time far beyond what I had become used to in the past decade. The blog, general web surfing, my Tumblr efforts and my current novel manuscript can no longer be given half of each day's working hours.

Translating three or four stories per day for the Motorvision English language website, uploading these into a complex (although quite brilliant) content management system and then updating the online content is time consuming but also very satisfying. There is the evidence quotidian that my efforts actually produce a result. (And that is a welcome contrast to my attempts to get anyone to read my fiction!)

The reading which was my well earned reward last weekend was my third or fourth encounter with Kate Atkinson's work. My lasting impression is that Atkonosn has a lot of fun with her writing. I imagine her constantly collection behavioural gems, observational nuggets, hoarding them until the time comes for them to be added as unexpected flashes of perception into one or other of her narratives. 

Or do I impute to her something which I choose to see as an indulgence I permit myself as a storyteller?

A reviewer in the Daily Mirror sees Kate Atkinson's work from a different perspective...

Her latest, Started Early, Took My Dog, is Atkinson's finest novel to date. 

Indeed, it's one of the finest British novels, in any genre, to have emerged for years. While Atkinson uses [her protagonist] Jackson Brodie to add a moral weight to the crimes he's invariably been caught up with, and also to build suspenseful plots around, primarily she's in it for the writing.

However, right from the start it's very clear she has another agenda with this novel. She's angry with this country, with the injustice, the great social divide, the hopelessness, misery and inanity of a busted, careless state and the wretched lives of wretched people.

This is very much a state of the nation novel - it's far sharper and more observant and satirically understanding than anything else out there at the moment. 

Reccommended highly.

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