Friday, June 10, 2005


10-pages-in book review: Case Histories

I'm about 40 pages into Kate Atkinson's Case Histories.

I can't remember where I read the recommendation for this book, and I wish I could. The person making a recommendation has a lot to do with my frame of mind when I start reading a book. I didn't know a thing about it when I started reading, hadn't even read the Amazon reviews.

(Sidebar: do you like to read a lot of reviews or talk to a lot of people who've read the book before you read it, or do you prefer a blank slate? Just curious.)

I almost put it down within the first two chapters. I just couldn't see where it was going. More accurately, I wasn't sure it was somewhere I wanted to go. But there's just enough in it to make me curious. I think it's going to be a series of linked short stories, and I've always been a fan of short stories. The tone is very sombre, though. Not nearly as uplifting as that other book I can't stop thinking about.

One thing I do find quaint about this book is that the edition I'm reading hasn't been edited to take out all the charming little British colloquialisms. You can feel the cadence of the British speech rhythms in the writing. (This is the same reason I liked Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone so much better than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.)

So I've decided to stick with it.

Hmmm, after getting all this down, I'm beginning to doubt just how clever my new little trick is. Not much meat, is there? Speak, bloggy friends: what say ye? Shall we give it one more try?

Edited 19 June to add this conclusion:

I was wrong. This is really quite a terrific book! I got so wrapped up in the quirky characters and their odd entanglements that I was sad when the book ended. I wanted to know more about them, their lives, and where it all ended up.

Definitely worth reading!