Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A Series of Unfortunate Events By ELISSA SCHAPPELL writing in the NYT Sunday Book review Published: October 12, 2008
It's hard to imagine a novel starting in a more gripping or terrifying way than Kate Atkinson’s new mystery, “When Will There Be Good News?” A stranger with a carving knife ambushes a young family on a deserted country lane, killing mother, daughter, baby, even the dog. The only survivor is the fleet-footed daughter Joanna.
WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS? By Kate Atkinson 388 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $24.99
Thirty years later, Joanna is Dr. Joanna Hunter, married with a baby and dog of her own, and the man convicted of the slaughter of her family is being released from prison. On that same day, the ex-army man and ex-detective Jackson Brodie is accidentally boarding a doomed train, headed not in the direction of London and his new wife, but toward Edinburgh and an old flame, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe, “the one that got away.” And as fate would have it Reggie Chase, a plucky teenage girl, recently orphaned and wise beyond her years, sits translating the “Iliad” just feet from the railroad tracks. Now there’s a setup.
Fans of Atkinson’s novels like “Behind the Scenes at the Museum,” which won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year, and her two previous literary detective novels, “Case Histories” and “One Good Turn,” both featuring the rugged yet sensitive Brodie, can expect “When Will There Be Good News?” to follow standard procedure.
Kate Atkinson was one of the big-name authors at the recent Christchurch Writers Festival in New Zealand. Read my report of that event via this link. Note that this title is published by Doubleday UK in the UK/Aust/NZ. The cover shown at the top of this posting is the US cover while the one shown adjacent to this para is the UK cover. Why publishers on each side of the Atlantic always feel the need to design different covers to each other is beyond me!