Jaline's Reviews > Transcription

Transcription by Kate Atkinson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: xx2018-completed

As this novel opens, it is 1981, Juliet Armstrong is 60 years old, and while she was distracted by her thoughts, she was struck by a car when she attempted to cross the street. Her story comes through in a series of jumps between 1940 and 1950 before landing back in 1981 again.

In 1940 at the tender age of 18, Juliet is recruited by MI5 to work on transcribing taped conversations between one of MI5’s agents disguised as a subversive and several informants. There are short excerpts from these transcriptions throughout the 1940 portions of the novel.

In 1950, the war is over, although the aftermath lingers. Especially in the world of MI5, where spying on whatever enemies exist continues. Juliet’s everyday life has changed, however. She is involved in the production of several radio programs for school children. However, as Juliet discovers, one is never entirely free of the spy business. Once a part of MI5, always a part of MI5. Maybe. Unless . . .

One of Juliet’s thoughts from 1981: The Russians had been their enemies and then they were their allies, and then they were enemies again. The Germans the same – the great enemy, the worst of all of them, and now they were our friends, one of the mainstays of Europe. It was all such a waste of breath. War and peace. Peace and war. It would go on forever without end.

Of the many things I have always admired about Kate Atkinson’s writing, one in particular stands out: how brilliant it is. We experience first-hand the intelligence and rapid-fire brain synapses of Juliet Armstrong right from the beginning. Although she is resigned to always being the one expected to clean up, to get the tea, and other “female tasks” like typing up the transcripts, her mind is always working at the speed of light and she both sees and knows far more than she would ever let on. And people notice.

The author’s notes at the end of this story are wonderful. Ms Atkinson describes where real situations and events from the war years are blended with the fictional story she is telling. It is virtually seamless, and if someone had said this is a true story, I wouldn’t question it for a moment.

This is an ingeniously plotted story, and I felt instant kinship with Juliet Armstrong – even at the same time that I was bowled over by her intellect. Her relationships with her fellow co-workers and those in the hierarchy above her were fascinating and had me feeling by turns loftier and humbled.

Although this is not what I would describe as a “funny book”, it was overflowing with humour and entertaining situations. I laughed out loud a few times, and I also felt sad a few times because there is also pathos here.

Kate Atkinson’s writing in this novel gave me a strong urge to immediately pick up another one of her books. Fortunately, I do have a few that I have not yet read, and I hope to read some of them in 2019. In the meantime, this finely crafted novel will have to hold me – and it definitely has the strength to do so.
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Reading Progress

October 19, 2018 – Shelved
December 18, 2018 – Started Reading
December 18, 2018 –
16.0%
December 19, 2018 –
51.0%
December 20, 2018 –
78.0%
December 21, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 101 (101 new)


message 1: by Dan (new) - added it

Dan Lutts Thanks very much for your review, Jaline. This book is on my To Read list and now I'm even more eager to read it. So many books and so little time . . .


message 2: by Paula (new)

Paula Great review, Jaline!🎄


message 3: by Holly (new)

Holly  B I really want to read this one! Great review Jaline!


message 4: by KAS (new)

KAS Glad you loved and are very impressed with this author’s writing style, Jaline ;) Awesome review!! ❤️💚❤️


Elizabeth This is a fantastic review and I loved the quote you used--Juliet is such a great character and when the end came I found myself looking back at the book with even more admiration for it


message 6: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Sounds good!! Wonderful reivew!!


JV (semi-hiatus) A remarkable write-up, Jaline! 🤗


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura Your review is very informative, but for some reason not really very taken with the book. I feel as if so much spy business is quite old - so many authors have done it - I suppose Atkinson's take is to replace the traditional male with a female protagonist, but to stick with historically accurate events - tricky. But, nice review.


Paromjit Fantastic insightful review, Jaline! 💚❤️🎄


message 10: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Lovely, intelligent review of one of my favorite authors. This sounds like another great one by her, thanks Jaline.


message 11: by Felicia (new)

Felicia Fantastic review, Jaline 💖 I still have Life After Life sitting in my shelf 😩


message 12: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Brilliant review Jaline 👏🏻🎄


message 13: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Excellent review, Jaline .


message 14: by Beata (new)

Beata Beautiful review, Jaline :) So happy you enjoyed this novel :)


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Wonderful review Jaline!!! So glad you enjoyed this so much! Happy holidays!!!! ❤️💚🎄


message 16: by *TUDOR^QUEEN* (new)

*TUDOR^QUEEN* Nice review...happy 5 star read! 🙌💜


message 17: by Kate (new)

Kate Baxter As ever, I thoroughly enjoy your reviews. This one is definitely going on the teetering TBR pile.


Tammy Wonderful review, Jaline! This didn’t work for me but I do like her other books


message 19: by Meredith (new) - added it

Meredith Fabulous review, Jaline! I can’t wait to read this—I love Kate Atkinson!


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader What a lovely review, Jaline! I’ve not read this author, and the way you’ve described her writing lets me know I’m really missing out. I’ll have to remedy that asap!


message 21: by Betsy (new) - added it

Betsy Robinson I'm sold!


message 22: by Antoinette (new) - added it

Antoinette Excellent review,Jaline. I love Kate Atkinson’s books. this one has definitely had mixed reviews. Glad to see your positive one.


message 23: by Kaceey (new)

Kaceey Wonderful review Jaline!🤗💜


message 24: by PorshaJo (new) - added it

PorshaJo Great review Jaline! So nice to see all the stars on this one. I'm looking forward to reading it.


message 25: by Ron (new)

Ron Jaline, your review captivates. A pleasure reading!


message 26: by Julie (new)

Julie Great review, Jaline!! 💖


message 27: by Mike (last edited Dec 25, 2018 06:17AM) (new)

Mike Wonderful review, Jaline. This is an author I have been looking forward to exploring as well.


Linden Wonderful review for a great book!


Jaline Dan wrote: "Thanks very much for your review, Jaline. This book is on my To Read list and now I'm even more eager to read it. So many books and so little time . . ."

You are most welcome, Dan - and thank you so much for your great comment! I also share the "so many . . . so little. . ." conundrum you mentioned! I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did. 😊


Jaline Paula wrote: "Great review, Jaline!🎄"

Thank you so much, Paula! 🎄


Jaline Holly wrote: "I really want to read this one! Great review Jaline!"

Thank you, Holly, for your great comment! For me, this is one of best Kate Atkinson novels I have read so far! 🎄


Jaline KAS wrote: "Glad you loved and are very impressed with this author’s writing style, Jaline ;) Awesome review!! ❤️💚❤️"

Thank you for your lovely comment, KAS! Her writing is so *smart* it makes me feel smarter, too! - hahaha 💖🎄💖


message 33: by Zoeytron (new)

Zoeytron Sold! And added to the list. Excellent review, Jaline.


Jaline Elizabeth wrote: "This is a fantastic review and I loved the quote you used--Juliet is such a great character and when the end came I found myself looking back at the book with even more admiration for it"

Elizabeth, I did exactly the same thing: after the end of the book, I had to read the beginning again! Juliet is an amazing character that I won't soon forget, either. Thank you so much for your awesome comment! 🎄


Jaline Deanna wrote: "Sounds good!! Wonderful reivew!!"

Thank you so much, Deanna!! 💖🎄


Jaline JV wrote: "A remarkable write-up, Jaline! 🤗"

Thank you for your kind comment, JV! 🎄😘


Jaline Laura wrote: "Your review is very informative, but for some reason not really very taken with the book. I feel as if so much spy business is quite old - so many authors have done it - I suppose Atkinson's take is to replace the traditional male with a female protagonist, but to stick with historically accurate events - tricky. But, nice review."

Thank you, Laura, for your well thought-out comment. I have also read John le Carré's spy series (the George Smiley series) and I know he is considered the 'master' of spy novels. I can't take anything away from his writing, that is for certain. However, I found Ms Atkinson's take to be brilliant (as I mentioned) with a great deal of humour in the clash between inevitability and surprise. It felt very fresh to me, although I am aware that there are mixed reviews, for sure. Thanks again, Laura! 🎄


Jaline Paromjit wrote: "Fantastic insightful review, Jaline! 💚❤️🎄"

Thank you so much, Paromjit, for your kind comment! 💖🎄💖


Jaline Nicola wrote: "Very interesting and thoughtful review Jaline! 😊🎄"

Thank you so much, Nicola! 🎄😊🎄


Jaline Beverly wrote: "Lovely, intelligent review of one of my favorite authors. This sounds like another great one by her, thanks Jaline."

Thank you, Beverly, for your lovely comment! It's great to share with others who love this author's writing. I mentioned in another comment that I feel this is my favourite book that she has written - keeping in mind I have only read two others before. I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it, Beverly! 🎄😊


Jaline Felicia wrote: "Fantastic review, Jaline 💖 I still have Life After Life sitting in my shelf 😩"

I loved both "A God in Ruins" and "Life After Life", Felicia. They are 'connected' novels . . . and of course, Ms-Obsessed-With-Reading-In-Order here read them backwards. hahaha - I hope you enjoy reading it when you get a chance. Those first two certainly made up my mind that I want to eventually read everything this author has written! Thank you for your terrific comment, Felicia! 💖🎄💖


Jaline Maureen wrote: "Brilliant review Jaline 👏🏻🎄"

Thank you so much for your kind comment, Maureen! 🎄😊


Jaline Angela M wrote: "Excellent review, Jaline ."

Thank you so very much, Angela!


Jaline Beata wrote: "Beautiful review, Jaline :) So happy you enjoyed this novel :)"

You are so sweet, Beata! Thank you so very much! 🎄😊


Jaline Lindsay - Traveling Sister wrote: "Wonderful review Jaline!!! So glad you enjoyed this so much! Happy holidays!!!! ❤️💚🎄"

Happy holidays to you, too, Lindsay!!! And thank you so much for the gift of your lovely comment!! 💖🎄💕


Jaline *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Nice review...happy 5 star read! 🙌💜"

Thank you so much, Tudor Queen!! 💖🎄


Jaline Kate wrote: "As ever, I thoroughly enjoy your reviews. This one is definitely going on the teetering TBR pile."

Aww, what a heart-warming comment, Kate! Thank you so much - and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did once you've had a chance to read it! 🎄😊


Jaline Tammy wrote: "Wonderful review, Jaline! This didn’t work for me but I do like her other books"

Thank you so much, Tammy! I read some of the mixed reviews and can empathize with those who felt this didn't work for them. It happens. I'm glad you enjoyed her other books, though. 😊🎄


Jaline Meredith wrote: "Fabulous review, Jaline! I can’t wait to read this—I love Kate Atkinson!"

Thank you so much, Meredith! I can't wait for you to read this, either! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did - Kate Atkinson has one of the most brilliant minds writing books today. 🎄😊


Jaline Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader wrote: "What a lovely review, Jaline! I’ve not read this author, and the way you’ve described her writing lets me know I’m really missing out. I’ll have to remedy that asap!"

Thank you for your lovely comment, Jennifer! I think if I had a choice to *be* any author I wanted to in the world, it would be Kate Atkinson! If I had a brain like hers, I would be ecstatic! hahaha 🎄😊


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