Sunday, December 4, 2011

Started Early Took My Dog

What a great title!

Quirky.  Funny.  Poetic.  Not necessarily words I'd normally associate with a mystery novel.

Started Early, Took My Dog, by Kate Atkinson was the Book Babes November selection, chosen by Nicolette. Nothing controversial here - all of us liked the book, which is the fourth in a detective series.

Nice touches.... Jackson, the central character, has a surprising penchant for poetry which was gained in some dark days of his personal history.  The novel ends with the Emily Dickinson poem, 'Hope is the thing with feathers'.

  • What he discovered was that the great novels of the world were about three things - death, money and sex. Occasionally a whale.  But poetry had wormed its way in, uninvited.  A Toad, can die of Light!  Crazy.

Great descriptions of English abbeys and National Trust properties which make me want to make a visit just to take in the scenery, like watching wild deer grazing out your cottage window or passing by Jane Seymour's bench.

  • ... the ruins had touched his soul in some inarticulate and melancholy place, the nearest thing to holiness for an atheistic Jackson.  He missed God.  But then who didn't?

Satiric observations nicely sum up the state of modern affairs:

  • "Western civilization had had a good run but now it had pretty much shopped itself out of existence."
  • "You go to sleep living in a prosperous country and you wake up in a poor one, how did that happen?  Where had the money gone, and why couldn't they just get it back?"

The plot is artful, if a bit gruesome, involving the murders of prostitutes and stolen identities over two different generations; told out of sequence in a nonlinear fashion. So sometimes it is a bit difficult to figure out which decade you're in or which character has the stage. Reading this on the kobo was challenging because it wasn't easy to thumb back and double-check previous pages.

If this were a film, it would definitely suit film noir.  I'd pick Guy Ritchie to direct and Hugh Laurie or Robert Downey Junior as Jackson.

3 comments:

Hudson said...
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Carô said...

holy toledo...what on earth did Hudson say?!

Diane said...

lol - spamming something about a dog bed.