Amy Reads Books

When Will There Be Good News?

When Will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson I preferred this to One Good Turn; it was less a murder mystery, and whilst there is an escalating issue, it seemed to be more of an exploration of the characters than anything else. That isn't to say that the escalating tension surrounding Joanna Hunter isn't frightening; in fact it may be more nerve-jangling than One Good Turn due to the fact that it grows steadily in the background, and Atkinson weaves cryptic chapters from Joanna's perspective into the narrative. This novel probably made nursery rhymes far more creepy than I ever thought they could be.But, as I said, characterisation is important in this novel. Atkinson has created a seriously awesome protagonist in Reggie Chase; a girl whose mother drowned on holiday and whose brother is involved in dodgy dealings. Reggie, despite having left school at 16, is intelligent and brave, and has dreams of having an idyllic family life with Joanna Hunter and her son. It is her stubborn pursuit of the dodgy elements of Joanna's disappearance that forces the powers that be to actually properly explore it. Then we have Louise Monroe, who I quite love, and who is seemingly trapped in a marriage that she regrets to a guy called Patrick, who seems utterly overbearing. Whilst Louise can occasionally be less than lovely, Atkinson gives her some snappy dialogue and makes her fallible, which is lovely. Then there's Jackson, whose character-growth is basically through the fact that after a train crash he cannot remember who he is, and thus must rediscover this; and it's always fascinating to see how his past has shaped his desire to help; especially lost women.As with Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Atkinson brings forward numerous intertextual references to the novel. There's Great Expectations in the exploration of Ms McDonald's home (Reggie's tutor) and most obviously Rebecca in Louise's marriage to Patrick, whose first wife died in a car crash and whose presence can still clearly be felt in their new home. I also quite loved the self-awareness shown in having Louise watch an episode of CSI.Of course, as is typical of an Atkinson novel there are numerous twists and turns and nothing (or no one) is exactly as they seem; which seems to be perhaps the overriding theme of this novel. I think I'll be giving Atkinson a break before I pick up the fourth novel (Started Early, Took My Dog), but I really, really enjoyed this.