“When Will There Be Good News?” – Review

When Will There Be Good News? © Random House
When Will There Be Good News? © Random House

Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breathe Kate Atkinson.

I wrote my (rather rambling) honours thesis on her work, mostly on my favourite piece of modern literature – her second book, Human Croquet. I have kept up religiously with her forays into stunningly crafted crime fiction, and exchanged a few e-mails with her back when I was doing my thesis – an experience that had me blubbering with happiness (not in, like, a weird way, just in an “Oh my God, I am speaking to my hero” type way).

When Will There Be Good News? is the third book to feature grim Northerner, sometime private-eye, hapless lover, and, in my humble opinion, sexy, sexy mofo by the name of Jackson Brodie. “A good man is hard to find,” – Atkinson said of Brodie in an old interview, and it’s no wonder that one of the chapters of the new book is titled exactly like that – a throwback to Flannery O’Connor and to the general frustration with human relationships that this book embodies.

Like all of Atkinson’s work, When Will There Be Good News? is littered with sly allusions, nudges, wink-winks, and deeper riffs on literary culture as it has been shaped by the centuries and as it exists today. Atkinson’s wry humour is once again undercut by what she has once described as a “tremendous heart of darkness” (she was speaking of Human Croquet when she said this, but I think one can apply it to her work as a whole) – her greatest achievement isn’t so much that she keeps the two halves in perfect balance, but that she unravels and unwraps our present and future and presents it as a cut diamond with multiple brilliant facets, each stunning, warm, or pretty freaking scary.

Alongside Jackson, the latest book features two compelling heroes – Continue reading ““When Will There Be Good News?” – Review”