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Case Histories: A Novel

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What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 12 comments:

Sheila Deeth, January 6, 2014 (view all comments by Sheila Deeth)
I’d scarcely started reading Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories when I found myself transported to my beloved Cambridge, listening to the sounds of riverbank, strolling in hot summer sun to Grantchester, and asking if there’s honey still for tea. A wonderfully evocative sense of place infuses this mystery novel with something powerfully more than just a “case” to be solved. And, while each mystery does have its resolution, it’s the characters that count, their changes, dreams and nightmares, and their personal histories from which they create present and future.

If you’ve seen the TV series you’ll not be disappointed by this novel. It’s not the same though, and it’s not just the location that’s changed. On TV we look for whodunit and why. In Kate Atkinson’s novel we look for who people are. Jackson Brodie cares about his clients, and soon the reader cares too, seeking more the client’s peace of mind than the elusive search for something we like to call truth. Will it help to know who done it? Will it help to find the dead? Or is a right waiting for tomorrow what matters most after all.

Brodie's delightfully precocious daughter offers a glimpse of many tomorrows and sunlight in rain. Meanwhile histories offer hope as well as pain, and the several stories (a whole TV series-worth) blended into one novel are beautifully told with characters that linger in the mind long after the end. I love this book and I'm eager to read more.

Disclosure: A friend gave me this just before Christmas
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Paulagf, August 10, 2012 (view all comments by Paulagf)
Atkinson did a wonderful job of describing her characters through dialogue and plot. Juxtaposition of times and stories keeps it very interesting. And after a couple of times of reading something that I knew I had read about before, slowed my reading and made me stay more in the story.
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Pengi, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Pengi)
I can't decide how much I liked this book. At first I thought it was slightly boring but pushed through because I rarely put a book down once I start. As it progressed, however, I grew to care about the characters and make connections between the different story lines. In the end, I thought the novel was entertaining but a bit bland and predictable.
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Laura Rodd, January 10, 2012 (view all comments by Laura Rodd)
It may sound cliche that this story focuses on a depressed and depressive private investigator who is very capable when it comes to finding
missing strangers but is unable to find his way back to his missing family members who are in close proximity. This book is told in a rich and textured voice
that places the reader in a noisy, deep creek that serves as a cold killing site for a young girl, a house so silent that it "screams" with the unheard voices of dead innocents, and other natural landscapes that are both brutal and beautiful. The characters are complex and vastly different from one another but victimhood is their common denominator. In many ways the dead or lost are more alive than the living since the living have been stunted by fear or otherwise retarded from moving forward and returning to happiness because the violence done to them left them incomplete human beings. A great, truly great read. It reminds us to be slow to judge the defects and vulnerabilities of others whose personal pain is unknowable to us.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Laura Rodd, January 10, 2012 (view all comments by Laura Rodd)
It may sound cliche that this story focuses on a depressed and depressive private investigator who is very capable when it comes to finding
missing strangers but is unable to find his way back to his missing family members who are in close proximity. This book is told in a rich and textured voice
that places the reader in a noisy, deep creek that serves as a cold killing site for a young girl, a house so silent that it "screams" with the unheard voices of dead innocents, and other natural landscapes that are both brutal and beautiful. The characters are complex and vastly different from one another but victimhood is their common denominator. In many ways the dead or lost are more alive than the living since the living have been stunted by fear or otherwise retarded from moving forward and returning to happiness because the violence done to them left them incomplete human beings. A great, truly great read. It reminds us to be slow to judge the defects and vulnerabilities of others whose personal pain is unknowable to us.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316010702
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Atkinson, Kate
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20051031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
310
Dimensions:
8.16x5.54x.89 in. .67 lbs.

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Case Histories: A Novel Used Trade Paper
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Product details 310 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316010702 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Atkinson connects the lives of her ensemble cast of characters with a blithe, fairytale-like narration that can be, at turns, hilarious, macabre and suspenseful, but is blessed at all times with a remarkable lack of sentimentality. She bestows her characters, for the most part, with cruel childhoods and bleak adulthoods, but those good enough, and lucky enough, will be given a chance to solve their mysteries and, perhaps, find happiness." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "[A] compelling narrative drive....Playful humor, an impressive technique, and an offbeat detective with a penchant for weeping are the most obvious pleasures of a page-turner that succeeds in being both brainy and thoroughly entertaining."
"Review" by , "[A] literary star on the rise....Case Histories combines the suspense of a whodunit with the richly textured plot of a sprawling family saga....[T]op-notch literature — an unforgettable, unclassifiable read."
"Review" by , "[The] complicated narrative crackles with the earthy humor, vibrant characterizations, and shrewd social observations....[A] compulsive page-turner....Wonderful fun and very moving: it's a pleasure to see this talented writer back on form."
"Review" by , "Ms. Atkinson...grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go....[A] wonderfully tricky book....To read it is to enter a hall of mirrors....[T]he lifelike characters...are what make it such a compelling hybrid."
"Review" by , "Superfluous plot elements...may lead to comparisons with Ian Rankin's Inspector John Rebus series, but only briefly, for this is a very new world of old crimes. Recommended."
"Review" by , "Atkinson's preoccupation with family secrets finds its natural place in a strong, confident plot....In Case Histories, [her distinctive novelistic] skills have found their literary home."
"Review" by , "If Case Histories were a typical crime novel, it would be an entertaining adventure....But...in revealing [her characters'] flaws and motivations [she] achieves a richer, more satisfying result that is as much a 'why-done-it' as a whodunit."
"Review" by , "Kate Atkinson's funny, furious fourth novel rumbustiously drives a path through the genre of detective fiction, demolishing its careful, forensic summations of human behavior and replacing them with bloody, believable, vigorous tales of wrongdoing and loss, of personal."
"Review" by , "[O]dd and brilliant....[A] delightful, fascinating, and bitingly funny read. Atkinson has brought to life a marvelously diverse cast of unforgettable characters... (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "I think it's her best book yet, an astonishingly complex and moving literary detective story that made me sob but also snort with laughter. It's the sort of novel you have to start rereading the minute you've finished it."
"Synopsis" by , This new novel from award-winner Atkinson is a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate. As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge.
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