Kate Atkinson is a gifted and completely original writer, and her work lends itself particularly well to being read aloud.
The beginning of this novel is both shocking and heartbreaking, and it's hard to imagine where the story will go from there. But don't let that deter you from continuing to listen. The story quickly moves into several complex, intertwining layers, all featuring characters who are instantly memorable and worth getting to know. Reggie, the teenage girl who is more or less at the center of the various plots, is smart, unexpectedly funny, endearing, and completely captivating, and the other characters (including ex-detective Jackson Brodie, who appears in other books by this author) are just as distinctive.
Ellen Archer is an effortlessly talented narrator, and I would not have enjoyed the book as much without her. She makes a valiant attempt to capture the various Scots, Irish, and regional English accents used in the book, and though she doesn't always succeed, her attempts add to the book's appeal. She is particularly good at conveying the attitude and spirit of Reggie, who might not be quite as vivid a character without the narrator's voice.
I've ignored people's recommendations of Kate Atkinson's work in the past, but now that I know what I was missing, I plan to read and/or listen to all of her other books.
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