Saturday, February 9, 2013
Started Early, Took My Dog - by Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson's novels just delight me. I get great pleasure reading them. There are books that I like but these I love.
As in the others, this novel features a range of characters, some central and some peripheral. Jackson Brodie is again featured, former detective now supposedly retired. He falls for one more case: to find out who gave birth to a woman, Hope McMaster, a woman who now lives in New Zealand but who was born in England. Jackson figures it shouldn't be that hard, considering he's already traveling. Wandering, really, not settling anywhere. Might as well look into the case while he's on the road.
Another major character is Tracy Waterhouse, former police detective, present head of security for a retail store. Tracy is an amply-built woman who has made her job her life, for the most part. She is not married, has no children. When she spots a familiar woman on the street, pulling a small child, she can guess what will happen to that child when she gets home. She confronts the woman, a drug addict Tracy had arrested when she was with the police. On the spur of the moment she does something highly unusual and unexpected, which changes the course of her life.
When Jackson starts to hunt down birth and adoption records he runs into a blank wall. The presumed birth parents do not appear to exist. So who really did give birth to Hope?
There are other minor characters whose lives are intertwined with these and whose actions surprise and delight at times. It's like a full, satisfying meal that left me feeling just right.