I’ve always liked Kate Atkinson’s novels. Whenever I see a new one I have to grab it straight away. This one was no exception – I really enjoyed it.
Here’s the blurb …
A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn’t bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.
Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie, who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.
The story is told from the view points of the three protagonists; Tilly, Jackson and Tracy. Each of them have a unique voice and are believable as characters – I particularly enjoyed Tilly’s descent into dementia.
Tracy, as a young police officer, attended the scene of a murder (the body was undiscovered for three weeks). The victim had a young child who managed to survive for the three weeks on the food he could scavenge or reach in the flat. This child enters the welfare system and effectively disappears. Jackson Brodie is trying to trace the origins of Hope McMaster who was adopted and now wants to know about her past. Tilly is an aging actress fending off senility. Their paths cross in unusual and unexpected ways and the ending although appearing to head in a particular direction is surprising.
Alongside the three main people, there is a cast of well written characters – the dodgy (and incredibly sexist) police, Julia (Jackson’s ex-lover), the actress with whom Tilly shares a house, I could go on for ever.
Atkinson creates a real sense of place – a grim, dark and dirty place.
Although this is quite a dark novel, there are a few light-hearted moments that keep it from being too depressing.
Here are some other reviews …