Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!
The magnificent new novel by the bestselling and award-winning Kate Atkinson, a major publishing event.
‘Think of it as an adventure, Perry had said right at the beginning of all this. And it had seemed like one. A bit of a lark, she had thought. A Girls’ Own adventure.’
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 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 this country’s most exceptional writers.
Review by Ben Hunter
In a pacy and perilous escapade, eighteen-year-old Juliet Amstrong begins work in wartime London as an MI5 transcriber notating endless recorded conversations of fascist sympathisers and would-be spies. Ten years later, the threats of those war years re-emerge in new and frightening ways.
Atkinson, the award-winning creator of Life After Life and God in Ruins weaves a incredibly taut and wittily-told sequence of events that plunges the reader into the the depths of an ethically murky questioning of truth, justice and the war for knowledge. There’s much depth and empathy to be found in this addictive novel.
Transcription is the fourth stand-alone novel by award-winning British author, Kate Atkinson. In 1940, eighteen-year-old Juliet Armstrong finds herself recruited into the Secret Service. Mostly it's fairly boring, typing up reports and transcribing recordings of agents meeting with British N@zi-sympathisers. But then she's given another identity and the work gets more interesting, for a while. After one exciting episode, arrests are made.
But there were some incidents about which Juliet doesn't like to think too much, and when the war ends, she's not sorry to leave it all behind. Five years later, Juliet is working for the BBC producing children's programs when a face from the past appears: the man who posed as the Gestapo contact passes her in the street. What is disconcerting is that he pretends not to know her.
On the heels of this, a somewhat threatening note is delivered, more of her former colleagues from MI5 flit in and out, and she feels sure she is being followed. Frustrated for information from official channels, Juliet decides to become the hunter rather than the prey.
Once again, Atkinson gives the reader a plot that is perfectly plausible, but filled with twists and red herrings. Her depiction of London during the war and in the immediate aftermath has an authentic feel, with the social attitudes portrayed appropriate for the era. Her protagonist is easily believable: Juliet is intelligent but still naïve, although perhaps not quite as innocent as she first seems.
Her descriptive prose is excellent, as always, and Atkinson no doubt delighted in dropping this piece of dialogue in the final pages: "Fisher clapped his hands, as if to signal the end of the entertainment and said, 'Come now, quite enough of exposition and explanation. We're not approaching the end of a novel, Miss Armstrong.'" Another Atkinson masterpiece.
I'm enthralled with this book. The lead character is a delight and the other main characters really come to life. The more I read the more doubtful I become about who the goodies are; Kate Atkinson sows the seeds very subtly. I love her books and this is one worth waiting some time for.
"Kate Atkinson is a wonderful writer. I want to write like her when I grow up. Transcription shows she's at the peak of her powers. Full of beautiful, delicate, sharp sentences and characterisations. A spy novel that dismantles the whole genre. A class act, as ever." -- Matt Haig "Atkinson handles her mazy, Le Carre-style plot with complete authority. But there's a lot more to the novel than its page-turning thrills. The increasingly sceptical Juliet makes for a very appealing heroine and the darker material is interspersed with some neat comedy. Above all, Atkinson recreates the atmosphere of both wartime and post-war London with utter conviction." -- James Walton * Reader's Digest * "I loved Kate Atkinson's Transcription - you don't know if it's farce about spies, or a spy story about farce." -- Hanya Yanagihara "A triumph...inventive, atmospheric and witty." * Good Housekeeping * "A new Kate Atkinson Novel is always a reason to rejoice and Transcription was everything I was hoping for and more...Then comes the truly surprising denouement which makes for one of the best conclusions of a novel I've ever read.I immediately wanted to read it all over again." * Red *
ISBN: 9780857525895 ISBN-10: 0857525891 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 352 Published: 17th September 2018 Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 15.5
Weight (kg): 0.46
About the Author
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind The Scenes At The Museum and has been a critically acclaimed international author ever since.
Her bestselling novels featuring the former private detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog , have been adapted into a successful BBC TV series starring Jason Isaacs. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List.