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Pickle Me This

December 11, 2006

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

After I had read just three of her novels, Kate Atkinson was added to my list of favourite writers, and I am currently exploring the rest of her work with glee. Her collection of short stories Not the End of the World(2003) was a brilliant read, fun and a bit mind-bending. My favourite thing about this collection was its collectionness. These stories belong together, linked through different characters’ relationships. A passing reference in one story might become the main character in another, which makes for an engaging reading process (and much rereading to understand the emphasis of what you might have passed over the first time). The stories are also link through a theme of “end of the worldness”, though this is interpreted in such various ways that the collection is entirely diverse and at times surprising. She is remarkably adept at portraying lost and loneliness, and she is so edgy, and yet humour ever-present. Some of the stories straddle a strange place in between magic and realist, but I soon found myself trusting Atkinson and her universe entirely. She is a distinctly literary writer, as evidenced by the numerous classical allusions woven throughout the text, but these stories are also heavy in terms of Buffy-content (the vampire slaying variety). These contrasts underline Kate Atkinson’s fundamental unclassifiability, and so we’ll just have to file her (and this book) under “wonderful”.

2 thoughts on “Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson”

  1. Crissy Calhoun says:

    that is funny. i started reading your post thinking, “To me, the end of the world means an apocalypse in the Buffyverse. I wonder what it is in this book.”

    Also — you should write book reviews for Quill and Quire. And other publications too.

  2. Kerry says:

    Ms. Calhoun, the book struck me as something that might appeal to you actually. And thank you for the compliment– means plenty coming from your likes.

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