ARC Book Review: Transcription by Kate Atkinson


ashley | Kate Atkinson is an author I always think I should read more of, but don’t. The one book of hers I read, Human Croquet, I didn’t fully enjoy and kept meaning to pick up another. When her new book Transcription came across my radar, I thought now was the perfect time to see what I’ve been missing.

Atkinson is a wonderful writer, that isn’t to be disputed. So what makes or breaks a book of hers is what is left; the story and the characters. This is a spy story that takes place primarily in the 40s and 50s, which obviously is another time compared to today. A time when women certainly weren’t considered equal; so I thought it would be really empowering to read about a woman who was recruited by MI5 to become a spy!

However, as sleuthy as Juliet was, she still couldn’t escape the gender roles and limitations of the time and it was really frustrating to read about. Accurate of course, but frustrating that she was anxious for seduction from her superior, that she just wanted a man in her life, that she was expected to be secretary and spy and serve coffee. I have a hard time reading about that, though I suppose that’s partially the point of including it

That aside, Juliet just seemed overtly naive. [Some spoilers] It kept being alluded that she was this magnificent spy, but to me it all played out more like she just sort of got lucky by being at the right place at the right time or stumbling onto some pertinent information. When things all came together in the end, a direction I admittedly did not see coming, instead of feeling that thrill of being blindsided, I felt a little ripped off, like there was no way that the girl I had just read all about could end up being in the position the book puts her in. Or perhaps maybe she was that great of a spy and even had me fooled. [End spoilers]

I don’t know how to rate this book because overall, it was a solid read and I was interested through most of it, but as things unraveled and played out, I just felt more lukewarm than anything else, even with an unexpected ending. Maybe I’m just not a fan of Kate Atkinson’s work.


more information
amazongoodreads website

today! september 25, 2018

copy provided for honest review by
Net Galley