Transcription: A Novel

by Kate Atkinson

Hardcover, 2018

Call number




Atkinson, Kate (2018), 352 pages


In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Media reviews

This idea of consequences, and of every choice exacting a price later, runs like a watermark through Transcription, as it did through its two predecessors. At times, the novel is guilty of making its historical parallels a little too emphatic:... Transcription stands alongside its immediate
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predecessors as a fine example of Atkinson’s mature work; an unapologetic novel of ideas, which is also wise, funny and paced like a spy thriller. While it may lack the emotional sucker punch of A God in Ruins, Transcription exerts a gentler pull on the emotions, offering at the end a glimmer of hope, even as it asks us to consider again our recent history and the price of our individual and collective choices. It could hardly be more timely.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member jnwelch
At the tender age of19, Juliet Armstrong in 1940 joins the world of spies, hired by MI5 to transcribe another spy's meetings with a group of Fascist Londoners who think he's a German agent. What seems somewhat normal and routine at the beginning of the book turns out to be anything but by the end.
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Juliet is a talented liar, and easily adapts to having multiple identities and living in a world of deception. How she combines this with a naivete (particularly early on) and magnetic innocence is one of the book's attractions. We never doubt her integrity, as she ends up navigating one dangerous situation after another.

There's a good bit of humor in the book. Here are a couple of examples.

"Juliet could only imagine the havoc she would cause if she started brandishing her own gun on Oxford Street. And she couldn’t shoot every drab housewife—she’d be here all day."

"Why was it that the females of the species were always the ones left to tidy up? she wondered. I expect Jesus came out of the tomb, Juliet thought, and said to his mother, 'Can you tidy it up a bit back there?'"

The revelations that come in the last quarter of the book change how we view Juliet and her actions, but fit them. Atkinson is adept at jumbling chronology in her books, and it works well again here. I ended up giving this one 4 and 1/2 stars.
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LibraryThing member lauralkeet
In 1940 Juliette Armstrong is recruited into MI5, the British intelligence service, to transcribe recorded meetings between an agent, Godfrey Toby, and seemingly ordinary citizens who are believed to be working for the German government. Toby pretends to be one of them, when in reality he hopes to
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use information obtained from these meetings to thwart the Germans. Juliette proves herself as a transcriber, and is then asked to assume a fake identity and mingle among German sympathizers.

Fast forward to 1950, when Juliette is a producer of children’s programming for BBC radio. After a chance encounter with Godfrey Toby, she begins to realize her wartime activities are not fully behind her. The novel shifts between these two time periods, dropping hints and details as dots for the reader to connect. A classic spy caper ensues, where Juliette -- and the reader -- are never quite sure whether people are who they say they are, and begin to question the loyalty of key figures in the drama.

Kate Atkinson brings a unique talent to this genre. There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue, as well as a great deal of humor. Juliette becomes a savvy and effective spy, and she is also an ordinary human being who loves, hopes, and fears. Atkinson also employs a very brief prologue and epilogue, set in 1981, as bookends to Juliette’s story. I found the author’s note at the end of the book very interesting, as it described how Atkinson blended discrete factual elements into a plausible story that was great fun to read.
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LibraryThing member thorold
An enjoyable little spy story with plenty of period atmosphere from wartime London and the early-50s BBC. The mood is more John Le Carré than Ian Fleming, all files and typewriters and carbon-paper and plot-turns within plot-turns until you aren't sure any more how many different sides everyone is
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on, but of course all done with a considerably more feminist point of view than most spy fiction. And the central problem is one that you don't often see in fiction, that of keeping tabs on the residue of fascist sympathisers in Britain after the start of the war.

Atkinson's obviously gone to a lot of trouble to get her details right, and supplies us with a detailed specification of the balance of truth and fiction in an endnote (supported by a copious bibliography in case we want to follow the trail ourselves). I had the feeling in the early chapters that she might be falling into the trap of giving us a bit too much authentic detail at the scene-setting stage, but that soon sorted itself out. I really enjoyed the big-institution workplace atmosphere in the BBC scenes - that all rang very true. The MI5 bits were harder to assess - I would have guessed that things would have been rather more formal and bureaucratic than what Atkinson describes, but she's the one who spent her time in the PRO digging out all the paperwork, so I'm prepared to believe her. Up to a point: Juliet's irritation at being asked by her boss to make the tea seems to be the author's, not the character's. Fair enough to be irritated if she had come into the job with extensive experience or a Cambridge maths degree or something, but as an 18-year-old starting as a junior clerical worker straight out of secretarial college, she would surely have accepted tea-making as something that went with being the most junior person in the office. But that's a silly side-issue that doesn't detract from the rest of the story.

Good fun for a winter day, with just enough moral questions uncovered to make you feel you haven't merely been relaxing with a spy-thriller...
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LibraryThing member Helenliz
I don't like to start a review with the end, but I sure as anything didn't see that ending comming! There's a plot twist at about 90% of the way through, just when you think you know where this is all going, that rips the carpet from under your feet in just a few lines. It's mind boggling and
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brilliantly done. And yet, looking at the book with that knowledge, it remains consistent. Very clever piece of writing.
The book tells the story of Juliette, who works in an operation during the war transcribing conversations with 5th columnists in a bugging operation. In the 50s she is working at the BBC in the slightly woerth Schools programme and the story is mostly told in these two timeframes. In the 1950s story, the actions of the war have repercussions in the present.
It's worth reading the author's note at the end, as this is a work of historical fiction that has a basis in reality, but is purely invented. It is very well done and was convincingly written.
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LibraryThing member nbmars
Atkinson, as she tells us in an Afterword, was inspired to write this novel after reading about spies and traitors in London during the Second World War. Thus she created her heroine, Juliet Armstrong, 18 and naive and idealistic, as someone who joined MI5, Britain’s domestic counter-intelligence
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and security agency, in 1940.

We begin, however, in 1981, when Juliet has just been hit by a car. As paramedics work to stabilize her, we join her in her thoughts as she remembers her past.

We first go back to 1940, when Juliet was working for Godfrey Toby, an MI5 operative who masqueraded as a Nazi agent and encouraged people with pro-Fascist sympathies to report to him. Juliet sat next door in an adjacent apartment fit out with listening devices and she typed up what they said. She observed:

“The main characters in this cast of perfidy were Dolly, Betty, Victor, Walter, Trude and Edith. Each reported on a myriad others, filaments in an evangelistic web of treachery that stretched across the country.”

They are not the only ones featured in this drama with suspicious loyalties. Even the other MI5 operatives act oddly, and suspect one another of being double agents. In fact it is rarely clear who is “one of us” and who is “one of them,” as Juliet muses, offering up wry commentary on them all. She also has numerous fantasies of the MI5 men having romantic fantasies about her, which never pan out, much to her chagrin.

After a while, Julie is asked to try to infiltrate the Right Club. [In real life, this was a small group of anti-semitic fascist sympathizers in Britain’s upper class. The group was formed in May 1939, when the Scottish Unionist MP Archibald Ramsay decided that the British Conservative Party needed to rid itself of perceived Jewish control.]

Juliet’s alias (her “nom de guerre”) for this mission was to be “Iris Carter-Jenkins.” Another MI5 agent to whom she reports, Perigrine Gibbons (“Perry”) asks her to get close to the wealthy Mrs. Scaife, who is “near the top of the heap.” He explains, “Iris has been ‘designed’ to appeal to her.” [It is possible Atkinson adopted this name as a veiled reference to Richard Mellon Scaife, “Funding Father of the Right” - a right-wing conspiracy theorist (he died in 2014) whose money has established or sustained activist think tanks that have created and marketed very conservative ideas.]

Mrs. Scaife prattles on about the perils of international Jewry, and Iris acts sympathetic.

In alternate chapters, we move to 1950, when Juliet is now a producer at the BBC. Somewhat amusingly, quite a few of her colleagues there are also former operatives of MI5. She begins to think someone is following her, and she receives a threatening note. There are other odd coincidences that happen to her. She fears her past life in espionage is catching up with her. But there is another possibility:

“Or perhaps someone playing a trick on her, “some kind of game to drive her mad. Gaslighting. But it still left the question of who. And why.”

Evaluation: I wasn’t so enamored of the plot of this story, but Atkinson’s skill with prose makes all of her books a joy to read.
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LibraryThing member brenzi
Spies. Espionage. WWII. Yes we’ve seen and read it all before but in the hands of Kate Atkinson it’s not quite what we’ve come to expect from other espionage writers. First of all we have a female protagonist who appears to be a typical well, I don’t know, secretary, very young and naïve
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from all appearances. It’s her life that we carefully follow as WWII is just revving up in 1940, as well as her interaction with those around her, all involved with the MI5 and the monitoring of British Fascist sympathizers.
Midway through the book, although it’s still 1940, the monitoring seems to be over, assignment resolved and this left me puzzling over the rest of the book. Where in the world does Atkinson go from here? Believe me, there’s much more in store and I have to say I never saw the twist at the end coming. As a matter of fact when I finished the book I thought I should go back and reread it to find the clues that must’ve been there for me to discover. I guess I’ll leave that for another day. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member maneekuhi
Author Kate Atkinson (KA) has written ten novels, including four in the Jackson Brodie series. As I recall Brodie was an English police detective, retired, then went private. Anyway, I was a latecomer to the first in the series, “Case Histories”; it was a huge success, I read it, loved it, and
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eagerly awaited the next. Which wasn’t quite as good. Ditto for the next, and the next. But I kept coming back to KA. The critics loved her, perhaps moreso when she began writing “dramatic” novels, as opposed to crime fiction. Over the years I read one or two of these, sold on them by plot summaries and the usual gaga critical reviews, and after all, they were by KA.

The blurbs for “Transcription” (TR) hit a lot of my hot buttons (when will I ever learn?!). Espionage, betrayal, loyalty, London, WWll. I bought it the day it was released. Huge disappointment. If you want to think of a continuum of spy fiction with Le Carre’s “Spy Who Came in from the Cold” on one end and “Austin Powers; The Spy who Shagged Me”, I would have to say TR seemed a lot closer to Powers than to Leamus. TR is a rather dull story. Juliet, our heroine, listens to conversations in an adjoining apartment via hidden microphones and transcribes them, word for word, sharing coughs, slurs, numbers of missed words, zzzzz). In the next room are German sympathizers come to share their observations from coastal sites, manufacturing facilities etc. These are not highly trained agents, rather they are more like everyday citizens with chips on their shoulders (readers might even suspect a parallel with some nationalists of today).

Juliet is a bright young woman with the nasty habit of poking at every one’s everyday clichés, e.g. “you have a good ear,” Perry complimented her. “I have two, sir.” The first one or two are cute, funny. But after a half dozen the reader can’t help but wonder what these comedic commentaries are doing in a spy novel. Ditto for Juliet’s many musings: “He sometimes took Juliet with him, introducing her as his “right-hand woman” (although he was left-handed, she noted). So, a tongue-in-cheek spy story? Doesn’t work.

As for the writing…..there are many nice sentences, many clever observations. But there was little or no tension for very long stretches. It’s a bit boring. The plotting seemed haphazard to me. Of course, there’s the usual flashback, flashforward. I didn’t see the need for the jumping about. There was one point where the jump particularly annoyed me. The reader is teased into believing there’s a cliff-hanger, only to return to the scene pages later and discover zzzzz. And then there’s the twist. For a twist to really work it must have two elements – surprise and credibility. For (a silly) example, if out of nowhere a major character is killed at the end of the story as he slips off a high wire suspended between two buildings, the reader will undoubtedly be surprised – what a twist! But if there was never any indication anywhere in the story that he was a high wire walker, or a former circus performer, or something…..some set-up, the reader can only scratch one’s head and wonder why was he on a high wire?, where did that come from? and what does it have to do with the first 300 pages of this book I’ve just read?? TR’s twist was not credible for me, not even close.

So, here’s a twist of a recommendation. Do not read “Transcription” (or if you are still tempted read more reader reviews) but maybe I CAN TEMPT YOU to read “Case Histories” instead. One last personal note – I’ve been a fan of Tana French since her first book. Now “Witch Elm” has just been released. Excellent critical reviews. Reader scores – 3.5! I think I’ll pass, at least for a while. Too many great books, too little time.
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LibraryThing member librarian1204
I have been a fan of Kate Atkinson from the beginning.
I have read all of her books and I was excited to read this new one.
I was disappointed.
The book takes place primarily in 1940.
It moves to 1950 and begins and ends in 1981.
Juliet Armstrong is a 16 year old , who gets a job transcribing the taped
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conversations between German , Fifth Column, Nazi sympathizers and the MI5 agent , who facilitates their meetings.
Juliet moves from transcriptions to other jobs for the service, serving with various agents , who are never what they seem to be.
The pace is slow. It is difficult to become invested in Juliet’s character. She is superficial and unsophisticated as you would expect for her age, but not very like able.
The ending ties things up and proves the point that not only is everything not what you think it is but that consequences never go away.
Based on extensive research, the history of Britain at this period of time is interesting if not very riveting. And Ms Atkinson’s prior books were always that, riveting.
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LibraryThing member Herenya
In 1940, eighteen year old Juliet Armstrong is working for MI5, transcribing conversations with fifth columnists -- Fascist sympathisers -- and sometimes, undercover as a socialite, having conversations with them herself. Ten years later she is working for the BBC, developing educational
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children’s programs, when she confronted with reminders of the past. Why would one of her former colleagues act as if he didn’t know her? Is she being followed? Are any of her secrets in danger of discovery?

This is an interesting portrayal of wartime, and post-wartime, experiences which builds into a tense mystery. I liked the prose, and Juliet’s observations, and the way references to Shakespeare, to music, and to the films Juliet sees, are incorporated. But I didn’t quite like how it all ends -- I found it oddly unsatisfying, for all the puzzle pieces fit together cleverly.

I would have appreciated more focus on the positive relationships in Juliet’s life, I think, something my favourite stories about women during the war (or women working for the BBC) have. That might have balanced against the grim atmosphere of paranoia, confusion and isolation. Then again, I suspect that the atmosphere was very intentionally cultivated. Maybe it’s just that espionage thrillers are not for me?

“I don’t think I can eat any more.”
“Oh, but you normally have such a good appetite.”
Dear God, she thought, was that what she was known for? Although it was true she was an eater -- she had eaten her way through grief, she had eaten her way through what had passed for love, she had eaten her way through the war (when she could). She sometimes wondered if there was some emptiness inside that she was trying to fill, but, really, she suspected she was just hungry a lot.
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LibraryThing member novelcommentary
"People always said they wanted the truth, but really they were perfectly content with a facsimile."
I Finished reading my second Kate Atkinson novel, Transcription, this morning and enjoyed the tone of the writing and the drollness of the main character. Juliet Armstrong is recruited by the British
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intelligence, MI5, to transcribe the conversations held in an adjoining room where Mr. Toby pretends to be working for the Gastapo, gathering info from the fifth column, or The Right Group. She eventually is asked to take on bigger roles and acts as a go between to capture an American traitor. She also helps to recover the Red Book, containing the names of the Nazi sympathizers. The novel begins in the 80's when Juliet Armstrong is hit by a car. In her hospital bed she thinks about her life. " She was just sixty years old, although it had probably been a long enough life. Yet suddenly it all seemed like an illusion, a dream that had happened to someone else. What an odd thing existence was." This short chapter then gives way to the bulk of the book which charts her introduction to MI5 in 1940 and then in the 1950's as she is trying to unravel the secrets from her past and figure out why Mr. Toby doesn't acknowledge her when she runs into him. The language of the novel as well as the sense of humor of Miss Armstrong make for a pleasant reading experience. The author confesses in the afterward that this is fiction but her research of the historical elements of the time are from actual events. Highly recommend.
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LibraryThing member japaul22
I quite liked this new novel by Atkinson. She's written another WWII London novel, this time about a young woman who is recruited to be a spy. The book takes place in two main timelines (and an additional "present day" at the beginning and end), 1940 as Juliet Armstrong is recruited to spy for M15
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and 1950 where she deals with the ramifications of her wartime spy-work.

I really liked Juliet and many of the other characters and I always find Atkinson's writing engaging. I did not, however, find this book to be as special as Life After Life or A God in Ruins. If you haven't read anything by her, read those first, but fans of Atkinson will probably like this.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
If the goal of this WWII espionage type story was to confuse me, Atkinson did her job. I didn’t follow the ending at all. I read it and understood what was happening, but I kept thinking “Why is this happening.” It seemed a mishmash of events that may or may have happened in England during
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WWII. The pacing of the novel wasn’t even, so many things put into the story detracted and I got characters confused.
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LibraryThing member ParadisePorch
Nothing is what it seems - really spins your head around. Likely what it's like in espionage. Atkinson is brilliant, really.
LibraryThing member deslivres5
WWII historical fiction spy novel. While I enjoyed Atkinson's two other British WWII/post-WWII novels, Life After Life, and its sequel, A God in Ruins, this one, Transcription, didn't resonate with me as much. The main character, Juliet Armstrong, came across as a bit matter-of-fact and soulless.
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Maybe starting out as an orphaned 18-year old spy with MI5 does that to you. The jumping back and forth through different time periods is done in Atkinson's new novel as well. With only three time periods to content with this time made the story easier to follow. There are lots of colorful supporting characters, adding to the enjoyable spy vs. spy obfuscation.
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LibraryThing member GirlWellRead
A special thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 she is enlisted to transcribe the conversations that take
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place in a bugged flat between Godfrey Toby, an MI5 agent, and a group of suspected fascist sympathizers. At first the work seems dull, but then it becomes terrifying as Juliet is thrust into a world of secrets and code. After the war ends, she thinks that her service is over that the event she transcribed are left in the past.

Fast forward ten years and Juliet is now a radio producer with the BBC. Even though her past seems like a lifetime ago and Juliet has resigned herself to her more mundane life and work, she is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. Haunted by these relationships and her actions, Juliet cannot escape from the repercussions of her work. Left with no choice, she is pulled back into a life of espionage.

Atkinson is such a gifted writer. I had the privilege of attending an event where she spoke at length about her research and writing process for Transcription. Her writing is rare in that she brings humour to her narrative in such a subtle way. Much of this is accomplished through Juliet trying to make sense of what she is listening to as well as through her naiveté. Juliet is Atkinson's vehicle to make the events fictional. She is "the girl". Atkinson has described her as being "a smart character, but with an incredibly active imagination".

In typical Atkinson fashion, the reader is treated to shifts in time and plot (things don't unfold sequentially). You can certainly tell that she has done her research, the story that emerges is nothing short of original and extraordinary, and I encourage you to read the author's notes. Transcription is a layered work of deception and consequences and a thrilling literary read.
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LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
So Kate Atkinson has written another novel about WWII, this time coming at it from the direction of a young woman involved in spying on German sympathizers in London. At first, she simply types up transcripts of recorded conversations, but later her duties expand.

Transcription is the work of a
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master. Atkinson takes her time setting things up and then lets loose, finishing up with an ending that left me wanting to turn back to the first page and start the novel over again.
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LibraryThing member Doondeck
Atckinson does so well with switching time frames. Quite an ending.
LibraryThing member rglossne
In London in 1940, Juliet Armstrong is recruited to transcribe conversations heard through the wall of a neighboring apartment for British Intelligence. Ten years later in 1950, she is working as a producer of a radio show for the BBC, when figures from her past emerge. There is a new war on, but
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there is unfinished business from the last. Powerful exploration of friendship, loyalty, and consequences.
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LibraryThing member sleahey
Somewhat loosely woven story of young Juliet who is recruited to transcribe conversations with German sympathizers who believe they are talking with a Nazi agent in wartime England. Set in 1940, 1950, and 1981, the consequences, both unintended and intended, of Juliet and her cohorts' actions are
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played out in some surprising ways. In the end I didn't find myself caring very much about the characters, but I did enjoy the final twists.
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LibraryThing member sblock
Wow. Atkinson goes full John LeCarre in this absorbing novel. The only characters you can trust are the dogs.
LibraryThing member pgchuis
Beautifully written and often amusing, this tells the story of Juliet, recruited to work as a transcriptionist for MI5 in 1940, then in 1950 working (or more often than not popping out on errands of her own) for the BBC, and finally in 1981 being involved in a traffic accident. There are twists and
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revelations, including one at the end which makes me want to go back and read the whole thing again in the light of that knowledge.

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LibraryThing member froxgirl
Alas, here's the end of Atkinson's ten book winning streak. Her genius at structure is still in evidence - her ability to wrap the plot around like infinity, to drop hints that take their time in coming to fruition without any red herrings, is unchallenged. But for me, while the character/PoV of
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Juliet Armstrong, a teenager when she becomes an M-15 operative during WWII, is up to snuff, the actual story line is not. There's a bunch of male supervisors who are too similar and a number of female Fifth Columnist Nazi sympathizers with very few distinguishing attributes. There's also an amusing subplot involving a dog (she adores canines) that's remarkably similar to the obsession of Nately's whore in Catch-22. However, the war intrigue pales compared to the pleasure of listening to Juliet, and the blank space between the two time signatures - war’s end and 1981 - creates dissatisfaction and the feeling of missing out. Atkinson's standard is just so towering that anything less than perfection falls short.

Quotes: "If everything is pointless, then so is despair, isn't it?"
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LibraryThing member VanessaCW
This story is set within three time frames, 1940, 1950 and 1981 and is about a young woman called Juliet Armstrong who us recruited by MI5 to transcribe secret conversations amongst British fascist sympathisers, which in turn leads to her becoming a spy herself. This is an intriguing tale with a
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quirky and a somewhat sociopathic female protagonist.. There is more than a hint if humour running through it. It's not a fast paced book, but one to be savoured. Beautifully written with a big twist at the end which I didn't see coming. A very enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
The book begins and ends in 1981, when Miss Juliet Armstrong, having just returned to London after years abroad, has stepped in front of a taxi and been run over. The meat of the story has to do with Juliet’s past as a transcriptionist for MI5 in the Second World War and her work with a BBC
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children’s radio program a decade later. Juliet thought that her past was behind her until she received a threatening message at work. Then she begins to see people she knew during the war years. One of them, Godfrey Toby, had been a double agent during the war. But whose side was he on? And how about the others from her past? What terrible memory do they share?

Kate Atkinson breaks conventions for avoiding plots that hinge on coincidence. Somehow she makes it work. Maybe it’s as simple as having her characters acknowledge and struggle with them. This book is short enough to read in a single evening, and I wish I had approached it that way. The plot and characters are complicated enough that it’s easy to forget important details between sittings. The plot and setting feel authentic, and they’re based on real events and people from the war years and British Broadcasting. Recommended for Atkinson’s fans and fans of World War II espionage stories.

This review is based on an electronic advance reading copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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LibraryThing member Twink
Oh my gosh, how do I even begin to describe Kate Atkinson's just released novel, Transcription? Brilliant! Mesmerizing! Incredibly clever! Uh huh - that good!

Juliet is 18 years old in 1940. She is recruited into the murky world of MI5 as a transcriptionist. She puts to paper the recordings of
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British Fascist sympathizers. 1950 - the war is over and Juliet is now working for the BBC. She assumes she has left the past where it belongs, but it's not to be.......

Juliet is such a great lead character. I adored her spunk and her acerbic sense of humour. Her naivete about some things makes her all the more human, likeable and believable.

Atkinson's plotting is intricate, richly detailed and so well done. There is no way to predict where the story was going to go, what would happen next and what the final pages would bring. It's a joy to be completely surprised by a story. Atkinson only slowly reveals an 'event' that happened at the end of Juliet's MI5 career. I was so curious to find out what that was - and how it affected the present in 1950. And the ending? Caught me completely unawares!

"And together they had committed a hideous act, the kind of thing that binds you to someone for ever, whether you like it or not."

Atkinson's plot found inspiration in National Archive releases - transcripts of an actual WWII agent's infiltration of Fascist support organizations. I loved the historic details of dress, settings, mores etc. of the time period. It was so easy to imagine the little apartment where Juliet toiled. And ten years on, her time at the BBC is just as vividly drawn.

I mentioned Juliet's acerbic sense of humour. I laughed out loud many times - her inner dialogue is so sharp and witty. The descriptions of the BBC players, writers and programming are 'dreadfully' clever. As are Atkinson's prose. She is truly a gifted wordsmith.

And that flamingo? What a great cover! It's mentioned in the latter half of the book and pivotal to the plot....

If you've read Atkinson before, you know you're in for a treat. And if you haven't - I can't recommend her books enough!
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Dublin Literary Award (Longlist — 2020)
Audie Award (Finalist — Best Female Narrator — 2019)
The British Book Industry Awards (Shortlist — Fiction — 2019)
BookTube Prize (Octofinalist — Fiction — 2019)


031617663X / 9780316176637
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