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.
"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 *