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Not the End of the World

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  3,207 Ratings  ·  320 Reviews
A stunning collection of thoughtful and highly readable short stories by Whitbread Award-winner, Kate Atkinson.

This is a daring, witty and provocative collection of twelve thematically-linked stories.

Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses or, if you prefer, by Prada, Mary Poppins, Moschino and Barbie, these are stories of abandoned children and lonely adults, the seductiveness o
Paperback, 249 pages
Published December 3rd 2002 by Doubleday UK (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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A favourite author, a favourite genre (short stories), and a theme I enjoy – recurring characters. I liked it but expected to like it more. I always enjoy her ingenuity and ideas and writing style. I think these could be fables for our time.

I particularly liked the first and last stories, where two ingenuous girls wander through shops, dreaming aloud in detail about their perfect weddings one day while “the end of the world” is actually taking place around them. At first, it seems weird when th
Feb 03, 2011 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once you become a Kate Atkinson fan the entire world looks different - much creepier. As a devoted Jackson Brodie follower I was delighted to find some of her work I hadn't read while counting the days until the April release of her next book. I've never read her stories, which I'm afraid are now going to be forever part of my psyche in the same way as Roald Dahl's adult stories. Atkinson is a genius, but she's also gruesome at times. Every story was engrossing and usually rather creepy. I'm tem ...more
May 02, 2015 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not The End Of The World is a book of twelve short stories by British author, Kate Atkinson. The stories capture (mostly) ordinary people in their everyday lives, with occasional snapshots of extraordinary moments. Each of the stories can be read as a stand-alone, but they have connections: characters appear in each other’s tales, with some characters making multiple appearances; places (Edinburgh, Crete), events (a fatal vehicle accident on the M9), TV programs (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Green ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly amusing, but a little too quirky for me, I guess. Several of the stories were more than a little surreal, which was a bit distracting, as was the little conceit of referring to some of characters in different stories which kept me flipping to try and recall "was he in a previous story, which one?" I am sure that there was some deeper message to the structure, but I wasn't getting it. I tend not to pick books because they are "trendy" or "stylish" as those are not typically traits that len ...more
Jul 01, 2010 Ally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quirky
I really enjoyed the intelligent but kooky nature of this book. It's a 5 star read for me.

I don't think I understood enough of the references to ancient Greek/Roman mythology so I'm off to do some research and reading. I also must read more of Atkinson's work as I thought her writing style was really engaging. - It speaks volumes that I scored this book 5/5 when I dislike dystopian or 'magical/fantasy' fiction in general. I think Atkinson approached her themes in a way that was entirely differen
Mar 23, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a big fan of short stories, but this is something else. It was the only book written by Kate Atkinson that I hadn't read, and I'm so glad I did. They could easily be described as "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" to borrow the title of Edgar Allan Poe's collection. Each has a grounding in reality whilst at the same time being somewhat fantastical. I have no knowledge of Greek Gods, but they obviously have a lot to answer for. Each story is a perfect little gem, and there are occasionall ...more
Jun 14, 2007 Trin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The one where Atkinson bases an entire story around the Buffy episode "The Replacement." Have I mentioned that I love her?
May 23, 2008 W.B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not sure yet

The title of Atkinson's collection of short stories is decidedly ironic, since for many of the characters who populate these stories it is indeed "the end of the world." Many of them die, and others undergo metamorphoses; these latter characters are often transported to new, otherworldly modes of existence.

One senses Atkinson wanted to effect a transposition of Ovid's masterful work bearing that same name (his Metamorphoses
Sep 06, 2016 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, stories, fantasy
I haven't been able to get either daughter interested in The Twilight Zone, not as TV, nor as collections of really marvelous short stories. The episode or two I've made them watch is interesting as text, but way too melodramatic as drama. I mention that because this is a collection of short fiction that comes from a twilight zone. Things are not as we would normally expect, although they are interconnected. The mood, as in the Jackson Brodie books, is melancholy with occasional bright spots. I ...more
Jul 31, 2009 Marsia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories delighted me so much that, before I'd even finished reading them, I went out in search of more books by Kate Atkinson. I've now read all her novels as well as this book of stories and have pressed them all upon my book-reading friends. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD is a good introduction to this exceptionally readable, humorous, yet seriously literary author. It includes stories that at first seem unrelated, but as one progresses through the collection, themes emerge, and one begi ...more
Katie Lumsden
Feb 11, 2016 Katie Lumsden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant and interesting collection of short stories. As always, Kate Atkinson writes in a beautiful, subtle, elegant style - she manages to capture characters superbly, and writes about the extraordinary in a beautifully matter-of-fact way.
Nov 11, 2015 Zara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atkinson is just the best. Her stories are dark and disturbing and hilarious, and I loved returning to some (but not all!) of the characters. Her stories often have some weird, unexplainable magical/fantastical elements which confuse and delight me. My favorites in the collection are Sheer Big Waste of Love, Unseen Translation, and maybe Evil Döpplegangers.
Cindy Huffman
I read Case Histories by this author last year. It was a very good book and Kate has a great style where there are different stories going on that eventually connect.

In Not the End of the World, Atkinson does the same thing. Different stories, but this time, too many. I found myself often flipping back, trying to find chapters to see where I recalled "a" (one) character being mentioned before.

What made it even more confusing for me was some of these characters occurred in different eras. A chara
Aug 17, 2011 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I assumed the stories would all be completely separate, so I was surprised to discover links between them. I loved experiencing a sense of recognition when minor characters from one story got their chance to shine in a later tale. I liked the way it tied the whole book together, as did the recurring themes of Greek mythology, death, the fictional soap Green Acres, Buffy, and the mysterious wolfkin. My favourite tales were probably Unseen Translation and The Cat Lover. I thought the first and las ...more
Okay, I'm not a writer, but this book just seemed like some sort of practice exercise you would do for a class: Take all the random characters that have been bouncing around in your head but you haven't been able to work into a novel. Write them into some random scenes. Give a character from each short story a cameo in a following story. For further cohesiveness, make sure each story references Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and add a boring framing story at the beginning/end.

That said, Kate Atkinso
Mar 07, 2013 Lainie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Kate Atkinson's writing, and these stories are no exception. She smoothly weaves surreal/magical realist elements into her stories of ordinary people in everyday settings. If you have an affection for classical mythology, you will enjoy her use of gods, goddesses, and mythological events to add a layer of metaphor and magic to the experiences of her contemporary characters. If you are a fan of the Jackson Brodie detective novels, don't expect the same stuff here. These are distinc ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
Aug 09, 2011 Kirsty Darbyshire rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
Ostensibly this is a collection of short stories but I'd advise doing what I did: start at the beginning and read them through like they're a book. Because they are, sort of. Very loose and not quite plotted but they work well in order. I'm torn between saying that they are individually nonsense and collectively make sense, or individually quite sensible and collectively quite nonsensical, so I'll just say both and add that I really enjoy reading Kate Atkinson's stuff and hope that there's lots ...more
Hannah Rae
Aug 31, 2016 Hannah Rae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A seemingly random book of short stories, I realized around halfway through Not the End of the World that the characters in the singular tales actually overlap quite a bit. A few of these stories are just downright weird; others are incredibly sad. Several made me laugh.

Did I love it in the same way I loved Atkinson's Life After Life? No way. But I did like it. I liked it rather a lot.
Aug 18, 2007 Rebecca rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A bad book. What a disappointment.
Pixie Dust
I only managed to get through 6 of the stories before giving up. Hence, I gave it 2 stars rather than one, for the benefit of doubt. But the first 6 stories were enough to convince me that Atkinson is, to put it mildly, just not quite my style.

To begin with, the title Not the End of the World is a rip-off of Judy Blume’s highly popular young adult novel, It’s Not the End of the World. A Wikipedia search also informed me that the title Not the End of the World has been used several other times by
This is quirky. I'm not sure how it ended up on my list, but it sat in my "to read" for a long time so when I saw it on sale at Powell's, I had to finally buy it.

It's a collection of short stories. The characters are shared, but the plot lines are not necessarily. Make of that what you will.

There are quite a few Buffy references in the stories. In one moment, a narrator ponders the Buffy/Spike relationship for a whole paragraph.

Even though I'm a Buffy fan (nerd alert!), I did kind of feel like
Sarah Hale
I'm always attracted to books that have some element of folk tale to them (Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, Alan Garner), and so I was pleasantly surprised to find a thread of Greek mythology woven throughout this collection of short stories. I had picked up this book in my local library while looking for something akin to David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, and strangely enough, I feel there are a number of similarities between the two authors' styles here. I have never read any of Atkinson's works before ...more
Nov 14, 2015 Barbm1020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
This is more than a collection of short stories. It's a series. In each episode, tenuous connections among the characters appear, disappear and reappear, sometimes unsuspected by the characters themselves. The setting is not the real world of today. It's a weird melange of a dystopian near future with a heavy dose of cynical Scottish gloom and bad parenting, almost existential except that the Classical gods break in pretty often. Sometimes it tastes like the Twilight Zone. I nearly stopped readi ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Jo-anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whimsical, dark, well written. As I'm a short story fan I really enjoyed this collection by one of my favorite writers. Some of the stories verge on the edge of Sci-Fi. Will reread some of thses ina few years.
Laura Dugan
I might not have been in the right frame of mind when I read this... I love Atkinson. The way she winds her characters together is phenomenal. But I found this book confusing and was waiting for a "pop" at the end... that never came. I could be too literal, or, like I said, it could have just been my frame of mind. The connections were still good, but there was a lot of mythology and suspending belief and I don't do well with either unless I'm well prepared (like with Jasper Fforde's books). I'm ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this one really quickly, and I loved it. It's such a fantastical collection, can't wait to give it a proper video review!
Stephen Ryan
Just like that, no reason, no explanation – she had her life back, day after day as precious and as delicate as a rope of pearls.

This Atkinson book is a collection of short stories and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. It isn’t that the book is awful or anything; at times, it’s pretty good. But I’ve been routinely giving Atkinson’s novels four-star ratings and this is quite a bit below a four-star book. A lot of the stories are high-concept tales of weird, unnatural happenings. Ther
Oct 12, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Critically acclaimed author Kate Atkinson uses a clever blend of witty, satirical characterizations and intriguing settings ranging from apocalyptic to only slightly unordinary in her captivating collection of short stories, Not the End of the World. Each of its twelve tales has a different focus, yet they are all intricately laced together in perhaps the most creative of ways; many stories feature returning characters playing minor roles, and Atkinson's subtle allusions to Greek mythology are p ...more
May 13, 2014 Melinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Kate Atkinson's Not The End Of The World collection of twelve short stories set in Scotland is nothing short of amusing and creative.

Kate Atkinson returns to her roots. Not The End Of The World is Atkinson first published short story collection. She originally started her writing journey with short stories before venturing into novels. Never short of creativity, wit and wisdom this specific collection is charming, whimsical and clever. The beauty knitted through these amusing andjudicious storie
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Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories,
More about Kate Atkinson...

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“We could buy a sewing machine and share it,” Charlene said. “We could buy cloth and spools of thread and paper patterns and spend pleasant winter evenings dressmaking together. Perhaps by the soft light from beautiful glass oil lamps. We could sit in a pool of golden light from the beautiful glass oil lamps and our silver needles would glimmer and flash as we bowed our heads to the simple yet honest work.” But” 0 likes
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