Transcription by Kate Atkinson
The shady and shadowy world of WWII espionage is the subject of the latest Atkinson novel. Like many of her novels, the plot does not unfold chronologically but rather skips back and forth between three pivotal years (1940, 1950, 1981) in the life of Juliet Armstrong.
In 1940, eighteen-year-old Juliet is recruited as a typist by MI5. Her job is to transcribe the conversations from a bugged apartment where an undercover operative is luring Nazi sympathizers. Eventually Juliet is promoted to field agent and cozies up to a seemly silly middle-aged woman who runs an informal salone for pro-German Brits. In Juliet’s eyes it all seems rather like play acting, until it isn’t.
Ten years later, a world-weary Juliet spots one of her former colleagues on the street in London, and her past actions come back to haunt her.
Sparsely written but full of surprises and twists.
What Other Reviewers Say
New York Times: “Funny and quirky and sharp and sad–calamity laced with humor–and full of quietly heroic characters who offer knowing Lorrie Moore-esque parenthetical asides…Akkinson’s true genius is structure.”
Who Wrote It
Kate Atkinson’s first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named England’s Whitbread Book of the Year in 1996. Since then she has written nine more groundbreaking, bestselling books, most recently A God In Ruins and Life After Life.