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7 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Case Histories: A Novel

by

Case Histories: A Novel Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"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." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A triumphant new novel from award-winner Kate Atkinson: a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate.

Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters unearth a shocking clue to Olivia's disappearance among the clutter of their childhood home...

Case Two: Theo delights in his daughter Laura's wit, effortless beauty, and selfless love. But her first day as an associate in his law firm is also the day when Theo's world turns upside down...

Case Three: Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, she'd made a grave mistake and would spend the rest of her life paying for it — until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Inextricably caught up in his clients grief, joy, and desire, Jackson finds their unshakable need for resolution very much like his own.

Kate Atkinson's celebrated talent makes for a novel that positively sparkles with surprise, comedy, tragedy, and constant, page-turning delight.

Review:

"[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." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[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." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"[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." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"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." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"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." Library Journal

Review:

"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." Times Literary Supplement (London)

Review:

"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." Denver Post

Review:

"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." Rachel Cusk, author of The Country Life

Review:

"[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)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"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." Jacqueline Wilson, Guardian Summer Books

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. She has won several prizes for her short stories. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread First Novel Award and was then chosen as the overall 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year. Her critically acclaimed second and third novels, Human Croquet and Emotionally Weird are also published by Black Swan as is her collection of short stories, Not the End of the World.

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
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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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View all 12 comments

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
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
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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