Book Review – Transcription by Kate Atkinson

First published 2018
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I loved this book. Oh my, how I loved this book.
The story follows Juliet Armstrong, a young, British woman in 1940, who has been recruited into the secret service. The flat next door is occupied by a double-agent who uses the property for ‘secret’ meetings with British Fascist sympathisers, and it is Juliet’s job to transcribe their conversations. But in a time of war, nothing is certain, and how well can you really know another person?
What a treat this book is. Recommended to me by a friend, and read by my own book club in the last month, I devoured this novel. I adored the writing style, and felt very keenly that I was inside the character’s head. There is a large cast of characters, but that’s where Juliet’s narrative is so important. When a character appears in a scene, she remembers them. Scant details, echoes of previous conversations, pop into her head, and onto the page, and it helps enormously to keep up with who’s who. Also, it fits so perfectly with her job, as a transcriber, that we can read every single thing that she’s thinking.
There was such authenticity to the time of the piece. In terms of London geography, particular shops and beverages of the time, were employed to tremendous effect.
I really liked the main character. I found myself smiling at the page repeatedly. I completely loved the way Juliet waited, somewhat impatiently, to be seduced by her boss, and his clumsy, uncomfortable attempts at flirtation.
I find myself feeling greedy for more books by Kate Atkinson. Highly recommended. Loved this.
And you can find the novel here: