Just like that, no reason, no explanation – she had her life back, day after day as precious and as delicate as a rope of pearls.
This Atkinson book is a collection of short stories and I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. It isn’t that the book is awful or anything; at times, it’s pretty good. But I’ve been routinely giving Atkinson’s novels four-star ratings and this is quite a bit below a four-star book. A lot of the stories are high-concept tales of weird, unnatural happenings. There’s often some magical realism sprinkled through Atkinson’s novels, but when it takes center stage in a story, it feels flat and uninteresting. A couple of the stories are genuinely wonderful. Sheer Big Waste of Love, about a boy born out of wedlock and the complicated relationship he has with his father, is Atkinson at her bittersweet, multi-layered best. Temporal Anomaly, about a woman who dies but finds her spirit trapped on earth for reasons she can’t quite understand, is melancholy. Evil Doppelgangers is the funniest story in the book, the tale of a boring office drone who discovers that he has a doppelganger who isn’t evil really, just way more fun and way more interesting than he is. But on the whole, I felt the stories here just didn’t really land and usually felt pretty pointless when they were over. Atkinson seems more successful in the novel form. 2 ½ stars.
tl;dr – Atkinson’s short stories are sometimes pointless and flat; there are a couple masterpieces here, but for the most part, nothing here lives up to her brilliant novels. 2 ½ stars.