Case Histories: A Novel
A triumphant new novel from award-winner Kate Atkinson: a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate.
Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters unearth a shocking clue to Olivias disappearance among the clutter of their childhood home…
Case Two: Theo delights in his daughter Lauras wit, effortless beauty, and selfless love. But her first day as an associate in his law firm is also the day when Theos world turns upside down…
Case Three: Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, shed made a grave mistake and would spend the rest of her life paying for it—until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.
As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Inextricably caught up in his clients grief, joy, and desire, Jackson finds their unshakable need for resolution very much like his own.
Kate Atkinsons celebrated talent makes for a novel that positively sparkles with surprise, comedy, tragedy, and constant, page-turning delight.
Case Histories continues a winning streak for Kate Atkinson which began when her impressive novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum won the Whitbread First Novel Award. Since that book, Atkinson has gleaned a keen following of readers who are prepared to follow in the surprising directions the unpredictable author takes us on. And Atkinson—so far—hasn’t let us down.
The perfectly judged prose that distinguished Human Croquet is fully in evidence in Case Histories, and a new frisson here comes from the genre-stretching that Atkinson is indulging in. In some ways, this book could almost be seen as a new take on the crime novel (not the first genre one would expect the author to tackle), but the crime elements here Atkinson uses are peripheral. The protagonist here is a former police inspector who now makes a living as a private investigator. Jackson Brodie is making ends meet in a sweaty Cambridge summer and trying to deal with his own failed marriage. But if his life is adrift, perhaps Brodie can justify his existence via his belief that he can do some good for the people he encounters in his job. But he is to find that he will be irrevocably changed by those he is trying to help.
As a vividly created cast of characters surround the beleaguered Brodie, all the novelistic skills that shone in Atkinson’s earlier books are fully in play. Those deluded into thinking they’ve picked up something resembling a standard private eye novel will find something much more rich and strange; Atkinson goes from strength to strength.—Barry Forshaw