Derek Baldwin's Reviews > Human Croquet

Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson
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's review
Jul 28, 2011

liked it

On the surface this is a family history told through the eyes of the younger child, but with bizarre time slips and similar fortean touches that lift it above the average and some clever meta-fictional elements too. The harking back to the time of Shakespeare didn't work for me and I couldn't see the point of the whole forest of Arden subtheme. Without this stuff the novel could have worked pretty well as a meta-narrative about the role of the narrator and his or her unreliability (if it had to be "about" anything in particular) but the historical elements seemed to undercut that. Kate Atkinson is obviously very intelligent and well-read, and I'm not sure I caught all the allusions. The multiple endings which aren't actually endings anyway were very well done, but some people won't enjoy having their heads messed about with like this. A little reminiscent of the sort of thing John Fowles attempted - rather more succesfully - with The French Lieutenant's Woman.

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