Case Histories, Sad Histories

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Everything was from duty, nothing from love. Duty killed you in the end.

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My relationship with Kate Atkinson had a rocky start, Life After Life was a big hit a few years ago, I picked it up when I was in Turkey and didn’t really enjoy it (now looking back, maybe it was because I read it translated?)

Last year I followed the Flamingo and was lucky to get a review copy of The Transcription, and that book was SO GOOD. The wit behind the pen is incredible, Atkinson is so good with her sentence crafting. She throws two sentences and describes pages of information in them.

Set in Cambridge, Case Histories is the first novel of Jackson Brodie series. It follows private investigator Brodie, investigating three cold cases. Case 1: A little girl goes missing from families own garden. Case 2: A stranger walks into an office and kills a young girl.  Case 3: A new mother has a fit and creates a blood rage.

The novel revolves around people who are related to these 3 cases and Brodie, searching the past to understand what has really happened. I really, really enjoyed the characters that were related to the first case.

And Cambridge is also almost one of the characters in this book. Look at the way she describes Cambridge in case histories:

All that wealth and privilege in the hands of a few while the streets were full of the dispossessed, the beggars, the jakies, the mad. Cambridge seemed to have a particularly high incidence of insanity.

Isn’t that mind-blowingly good?

Enter Jackson Brodie :

Jackson had never had an allergy in his life (except to people, perhaps), and considered his constitution to be robustly northern.

I love the way Atkinson writes. Basically, the writing is SO GOOD you stop caring about the plot (although the plotting is equally good too!)

Reading Case Histories was like walking amongst Atkinson’s characters and getting to know them better. I will never forget Amelia and Julia, the sisters of the little girl who was missing (Case 1) and their relationship and inner thoughts were sad and ridiculous at the same time.

She was passing the point of childbearing, her womb was shrinking unseen inside her. ‘I’ve still got time to push one out,’ Julia said to her yesterday in her usual disgusting way. Amelia no longer had time to push one out and soon the planet would have no further use for her.

The interesting thing about her Brodie series is that Jackson really don’t fit in the center, there are a lot of other people and events, but he is a perfect background, he is the anchor and I loved this style.

I highly recommend Brodie series, for those who love the dark-humoured, clever writing, with solid characters and a good plot. I know this book could be seen/categorised as a Crime book but it’s so much more than Crime Fiction, it is really amazing, I would not shy away from saying this is Literary Fiction at it’s finest.

All the stars to this book.

Trigger Warning for sensitive readers: Sadly there’s a really tiny bit of abuse in the book, but it’s not gross or overwhelming.

4 comments

    1. Thank you!!! I read one more, Started early took my dog and loved it. I didn’t realise the order so skipped a few books I think! now reading Big Sky- coming next week to the world!

      Liked by 1 person

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