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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Over-Praised And Over-Plotted

When Will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson

When Will There Be Good News? won the Richard & Judy Best Read at the British Book Awards. It's been very favourably reviewed in The Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Telegraph, and by innumerable Goodreads members. I find this bewildering.

I very much enjoyed Behind The Scenes At The Museum, which won the Whitbread First Novel award but that was literary fiction whereas this is crime. I must admit, I don't generally read crime, though I have enjoyed John Banville's forays into the genre. So I thought there was a chance I might be seduced by Kate Atkinson's literary reinvention. But I was wrong.

Perhaps I just don't understand the genre but in my opinion this novel is over-plotted and relies too heavily on coincidence. In addition, there are too many characters, many of whom are just names, and too many of them share a fondness for quoting poetry. I just didn't care enough about any of them to make this book a rewarding read. I suspect it might have made more sense if I'd read some of the earlier books in the series.