Atkinson has created a memorable character in Juliet Armstrong. Her voice is strong, witty, and acerbic. Juliet, a young recruit for British Intelligence in the early days of WWII, is pragmatic, resourceful, and nowhere near as jaded as she thinks she is. This is a thrilling novel even when showing the very unglamorous side of spy work. Juliet, brave, unflappable, lonely, and sad, is a character I loved and will remember. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Juliet is a strange duck, and I loved every minute of her prevarications, snarky inner monologue, fondness for Shakespeare, and impressive appetite. Britain during WWII is always a compelling setting, but Kate Atkinson’s London, peopled with fifth columnists, shady spies, and earnest BBC programmers, evokes the period’s strangeness and moral ambiguity to wonderful effect. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A dramatic story of WWII espionage, betrayal, and loyalty, by the #1 bestselling author of Life After Life
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.
Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.
Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of the best writers of our time.
"Atkinson is brilliant. Her characters are brilliant. Her command of the back-and-forth narrative, the un-fixedness of memory, the weight that guilt accrues over time and how we carry it is remarkable." NPR.org
"Endlessly devious... Atkinson loves her research, but she doesn't need much help concocting original stories that resemble no one else's and take the breath away. Even her literary allusions sparkle." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"There is intrigue. There are surprises....The deepest pleasure here, though, is the author's language. As ever, Atkinson is sharp, precise, and funny...Another beautifully crafted book from an author of great intelligence and empathy." Kirkus Starred Review
About the Author
Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh.
She won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her last novel, Life After Life, was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize. It was also voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. Her new novel, A God in Ruins, is a companion to Life After Life, although the two novels can be read independently.
She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.