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Publisher's Summary

On a peat and heather island off the west coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother Nora take refuge in the large decaying house of their ancestors and tell each other stories.

Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear, like who her father was - variously Jimmy, Jack, or Ernie.

Effie tells of her life at college in Dundee, the land of cakes and William Wallace, where she lives in a lethargic relationship with Bob, a student who never goes to lectures, seldom gets out of bed, and to whom the Klingons are as real as the French and the Germans (more real than the Luxemburgers).But strange things are happening.

Why is Effie being followed? Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog?

©2000 Kate Atkinson (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks

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Profile Image for Gillian
  • Gillian
  • 01-03-16

Disappointed

Not as good as some of her other books. Took me a long time to work out who was who and why any of it mattered. And the narrator did not differentiate enough between settings to help sort this out. I think Kate A can get too carried away with her own cleverness, and this time it just didn't work out.

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  • Mama C
  • 05-20-17

Rambling...

Just could not get into the storyline or thread of this book, very disappointing having enjoyed Life After Life.

3 people found this helpful

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  • sally
  • 07-09-19

clever or self-indulgent nonsense?

For 75% of the read I could not make head nor tail of the story. By the end I think I could see what the author was attempting but not sure it was worth it. Maybe it was me but disappointing. Now going to read other reviews to see if that helps

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emma Dhesi
  • 12-28-18

A Weird Read!

This is the third Kate Atkinson book I’ve read and is not my favourite story, but it is as fantastically written as the others.

She writes with such detail and humour, and I’m never sure which direction the book will go in, that I can’t stop listening/reading.

I absolutely recommend reading this, but suggest it not be your introduction to Atkinson.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-18

Very disappointed

After having read most of Kate Atkinson’s books, this was very disappointing and a struggle to make to the end. The characters were not particularly likeable and the story lacked any substance outside of a thoroughly depressing drawl.

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  • Carole
  • 07-30-17

Over complicated

There is so much going on in this book that i lost interest. I am a big fan of her later works so thought I would read some of her earlier work but the storyline keeps moving between now, past and the book the main character Effie is writing. Her use of language is brilliant but unless you have a degree in English you will need you dictionary near by.

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  • Jyam
  • 02-19-15

Intriguing story.

Unfortunately the reader did not use enough difference in the voice to make clear who all the different characters and stories were. The constant Scots accent hardly varied. Pity

3 people found this helpful

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  • A. Smith
  • 05-28-21

Delightfully mental

lovely to hear Dundee described in a tale of decidedly non Oxbridge students, tutors and a dodgy P.I....it touches on themes and characters developed in the Jackson Brodie books, and is oddly touching. Kate Atkinson has a way of bringing her cast alive in just a few lines, fully formed and lovable. I'm just sad I've listened to them all, several times, and hope there will be a next. Kara Wilson is wonderful - perfectly performed and a real treat to hear Scottish words pronounced properly

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  • Penelope Shand
  • 06-03-20

Funny, imaginative but not my favourite

I adore Kate Atkinson's writing but this was just a little too emotionally weird. At times extremely funny but in the end I found it hard to follow the plot

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  • Colleen S.
  • 05-20-20

The narrators voice

Unfortunately I listened for 30 minutes but the narrators voice was so annoying I had to give up - a pity because I love Kate Atkinson

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  • M. Brockbank
  • 10-12-18

A uninteresting disappointing read

This was the worst Kate Atkinson book I have read too many characters not sure what was happening half the time and an end I did not care about by the time I got there Very clever use of words but really was it just showing off. I love Kate Atkinson book this was a disappointment.

1 person found this helpful