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May 20th, 2011


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08:58 am - Case Histories
I am back in my old routine of walking to work, which means I am listening to audio books again. This week I listened to Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. It was recommended in passing by altariel, because Jason Isaacs with his shirt off turns out to be 'Jackson Brodie', Atkinson's brooding northern detective.

This is the first of the Jackson Brodie books and concerns three murder cases which took place in and around Cambridge decades apart. Each centres on a hidden family story, and all come to some kind of interlocking resolution. It's a good read. It is intricate, it's deftly and expertly written, and has very good female characters. There are more female than male characters and they are diverse and engaging. Also - and this may partly be a function of the reading by Susan Jameson - it is intermittently very funny, in a sad-but-true kind of way. It did make me laugh out loud in places.

It pops along at a good pace too. Compared to the austere Scandinavian murders I have been reading lately it is lively, colourful, and ironic. However, it does have tender emotion.

Most strikingly, Brodie is written to be attractive to a modern woman reader. He is sensible about sex, and gritty and miserable and everything. I was talking to a lecturer in English in the staff room at college this week, and I thought I would test out my theory. I mentioned I was listening to the book, and she was straight in there about how attractive Brodie is. Excellent.

Anyway, definitely recommended if this is the type of thing you like.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:altariel
Date:May 20th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC)
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Mmm, Jackson. All you need is the love of a good woman.

Glad you enjoyed it. Kate Atkinson is brilliant at plot construction, at bringing everything together. There's a moment in the next book where I gasped out loud when I realised how well she'd crafted the book to lead up to that point. And it's not done in an annoying John Irving way, where you're left feeling that you're mainly meant to be impressed at how clever the writer is. It's done so that you feel like you've just been given a massive (if alarming) present. I wonder if I'm making sense.
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From:communicator
Date:May 20th, 2011 08:18 am (UTC)
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Yes, making sense. I was impressed by the intricate plotting of the one I've just read, rather reminiscent of Victorian novels. I think she has crafted the book with the enjoyment of the reader as a priority.
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From:altariel
Date:May 20th, 2011 09:52 am (UTC)
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She is, I think, the only author whose books I grab in hardback the moment I see them.
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From:espresso_addict
Date:May 20th, 2011 10:26 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the rec. Definitely sounds like my kind of thing.
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From:communicator
Date:May 20th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I hope so, I think she's safe hands.
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:May 24th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
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Ordered from the library, thanks.
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From:communicator
Date:May 25th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
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I hope you like it pinkdormouse
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From:tehomet
Date:June 5th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
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I was just lying on the sofa with the newspapers and a mug of tea the size of my head, as is my wont of a Sunday afternoon, when I noticed that the TV version of Case Histories is on tonight at 9pm on BBC1. The notice of this in the paper is illustrated by a photograph of Jason Isaacs, but sadly he is fully clothed in this instance. *sigh*
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From:communicator
Date:June 5th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I will be watching tonight. I have high hopes
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From:tehomet
Date:June 5th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Me, too. :)

I look forward to your review, should you feel moved to write one.

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