Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson: Book Review

The lost serendipity of browsing is sometimes bemoaned by book lovers. We are wary of the transition to digital collections and catalogs that leave nothing to chance. Happily, browsing (stumbling?) seems to have neatly followed us into the surprisingly haphazard digital world. I found Kate Atkinson’s first book, Behind the Scenes at the Museum through a simple subject heading search (York, England–Fiction) the summer before I went to study at the University of York. Atkinson’s award winning debut was a darkly funny gothic tale set in the medieval city. The deeply dysfunctional family suffering, acting out, and keeping awful secrets through the trying events of the 20th century fit my mood perfectly.

The last four books she’s written are Northern noir: nightmarish tales of children in peril and mysterious strong but flawed women. They are puzzled over by the violent, inept, but morally sound and dogged unaffiliated investigator Jackson Brodie. The latest volume sticks to Leeds and darkest Yorkshire, (where my own gloomy relatives originated) and has the satisfactions of a solid police procedural in a vivid and disturbing setting. And I found it by chance, googling the line from Emily Dickinson that Atkinson took as her title.

Atkinson is speaking tomorrow night at Porter Square Books in Cambridge

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Author: Emily

Writer/ Librarian

3 thoughts on “Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson: Book Review”

  1. The animals in her books are such interesting characters. It was fun to see this book all over the bookshops in London.

  2. I love Kate Atkinson, and I also love the surprises found browsing the shelves in the library. I am going to say that at a meeting tonight to discuss buying a residence in the center that will act as barely larger library and town offices. I hear there is a substantial cohort in town who don’t feel we need a library – what with kindles and all. And I do wonder how many of those people own kindles.

    1. Doesn’t Heath need better internet to download books to those Kindles? And the ones I’ve seen do not have much kid appeal… Although the ipad does. It does seem that people who don’t use their libraries tend to assume that no one else does either- advocacy is the watchword of the day!

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