Read On a de la chance de vivre aujourd'hui by Kate Atkinson Isabelle Caron Online


Recueil de nouvelles, d'un minithriller a l'humour grincant et plein de fantaisie (Affaires de cœur) a Dieu qui decide de revoir sa copie etant donne ce que l'homme a fait depuis sa creation (Genese), en passant par une vision glacante de ce que donnerait l'application de la charia en Ecosse (La guerre contre les femmes).Affaires de cœur --Genese --On a de la chance de vivRecueil de nouvelles, d'un minithriller à l'humour grinçant et plein de fantaisie (Affaires de cœur) à Dieu qui décide de revoir sa copie étant donné ce que l'homme a fait depuis sa création (Genèse), en passant par une vision glaçante de ce que donnerait l'application de la charia en Écosse (La guerre contre les femmes).Affaires de cœur --Genèse --On a de la chance de vivre aujourd'hui --La lumière du monde --Le jour de Lucy --La guerre contre les femmes --Je ne suis pas une Joan --L'amour à mort....

Title : On a de la chance de vivre aujourd'hui
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9782877066952
Format Type : e-Book
Number of Pages : 154 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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On a de la chance de vivre aujourd'hui Reviews

  • PattyMacDotComma
    2019-05-11 14:34

    4★A favourite author, a favourite genre (short stories), and a theme I enjoy – recurring characters. I liked it but expected to like it more. I always enjoy her ingenuity and ideas and writing style. I think these could be fables for our time.I particularly liked the first and last stories, where two ingenuous girls wander through shops, dreaming aloud in detail about their perfect weddings one day while “the end of the world” is actually taking place around them. At first, it seems weird when they marvel at fabrics and such while noting that there is an alert for fire in the haberdashery department. Trudi begins to panic, as she smells smoke, but Charlene carries on imagining their future life: “ ‘Or we could lead an even simpler life,’ Charlene said hurriedly, ‘a life where there are no machines and where we would live on a green hillside and sleep under the stars and gather kindling in the woods. And we would keep animals-'‘What kind of animals?’ Trudi asked, as everything from taffeta to winceyette suddenly went up in flames.”The art of distraction to avert panic? They continue this inane conversation even as they make their escape. There is more to it than this, of course, but it certainly makes me think of the head-in-the-sand approach so many of us have toward the current state of our world. (We need coffee. What's in the fridge?)I always enjoy Atkinson’s writing:“her ankles like melting Brie above those bloody awful faux Birkenstocks”“The man was the color of newly poured concrete.”There’s birth, life, and death.“When he celebrated his fortieth birthday, Addison had neither child nor wife. When he celebrated his forty-first, he had both, one inside the other. Every morning when Addison woke up, he was surprised anew by these two facts.”A different wife:“Romney had opted to be knocked unconscious and split open rather than give birth naturally. Missy favoured natural childbirth whenever possible. She thought it was character forming for a child to have to fight its way into existence. Missy herself was a twin and had made sure she’d elbowed her way out first, ahead of her brother.”Parents will relate to another wife and mother:“They didn’t want a relationship with her, they just wanted her to exist somewhere in the background (I haven’t got any clean clothes). If she died, would her soul migrate? Into an insect, a tadpole, a bean?”Trudi and Charlene reappear in the last story, having lowered their sights from dreaming of “peaches in Moscato wine, Madagascar green peppercorns, rose-petal champagne. . . " to something they think is more realistic.“ ‘ From now on,’ Trudi said, ‘I only want good, simple things. A bushel of russet apples, a truckle of cheddar cheese, a firkin of bloodred win. Clean linen sheets, rinsed in lavender water and then dried in the sun and the wind on an old-fashioned rope in an orchard. A good book, a small dog, a single strand of pearls.’ “Which is why we read--to transport ourselves out of our We Need Coffee, What's in the Fridge lives to either the imaginary delicatessen or the Good Life (but with power and indoor plumbing).Quirky, well-written stories. Reliable Atkinson read that gives pause for thought.

  • Peggy
    2019-05-20 10:40

    Once you become a Kate Atkinson fan the entire world looks different - much creepier. As a devoted Jackson Brodie follower I was delighted to find some of her work I hadn't read while counting the days until the April release of her next book. I've never read her stories, which I'm afraid are now going to be forever part of my psyche in the same way as Roald Dahl's adult stories. Atkinson is a genius, but she's also gruesome at times. Every story was engrossing and usually rather creepy. I'm tempted now to try to draw myself a diagram so that I can study the interplay of characters that emerged. Reminded me a bit of Jennifer Egan's "A Visit from the Goon Squad." However several stories balanced brutal reality with a glimmer of hope and one in particular stands for me as perfection, "Sheer Big Waste of Love." In "Wedding Favors" there's a line I've had to write down and save, "Your children were like a knot of fear that you carried around inside you all the time." I wish I could forget some of these other stories because they are successful in undermining a sense of world order, but I won't be able to forget them.

  • Marianne
    2019-05-01 13:13

    Not The End Of The World is a book of twelve short stories by British author, Kate Atkinson. The stories capture (mostly) ordinary people in their everyday lives, with occasional snapshots of extraordinary moments. Each of the stories can be read as a stand-alone, but they have connections: characters appear in each other’s tales, with some characters making multiple appearances; places (Edinburgh, Crete), events (a fatal vehicle accident on the M9), TV programs (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Green Acres, Star Trek: Voyager), animals (a man-sized cat), magazine articles (Ten Things To Consider Before You Say I Do) and items (wedding favours) all recur. Two stories feature Charlene and Trudi in a world where there has been some sort of societal breakdown, and these bookend the rest of the stories. The first story is a little strange, but readers who persist will be rewarded with some tales of the outstanding calibre to which fans of Atkinson’s work are accustomed; the last story has a clever twist that reflects back onto the preceding ten stories. Atkinson has an exceptional talent for portraying people, and her descriptive prose is a joy to read: “She swung open the wrought-iron gate and walked briskly up the path, her heels striking like flints off the slabs of York stone”. The observations of young boys are particularly well voiced: “Addison had once heard a neighbour refer to his mother as ‘highly strung’ and although he had no idea what that meant he knew it sounded like an uncomfortable thing to be” and “’Georgie was … flighty,’ Mrs Anderson said, searching for an enigmatic word, so that Vincent imagined his mother as a ball of feathers wafted on a kindly wind” illustrate this. Another brilliant Atkinson offering. 4.5★s

  • Paul Fulcher
    2019-05-06 10:29

    Charlene was pinned down by sniper fire in the north of the city on her way back from a wedding fair.Not the End of the World showcases a different side of Kate Atkinson to Life After Life and A God in Ruins, more darkly humorous and playful.It's a collection of short stories but all with a slightly surreal slant. The first, from which the opening quote is taken, Charlene and Trudi Go Shopping, has two friends shopping and discussing increasingly fantastical wish-lists but it a city that is disintegrating around them in a destructive war. The second, introduces us to Eddie and his despairing Mum, Pam.If Eddie could have chosen, he would have been a fish. A large fish without enemies, free to spend all day swimming lazily amongst the reeds and rushes in clear, blood-cold water. His mother, June, said not to worry, he was halfway there already, with his mouth hanging open all the time like a particularly dull-witted amphibian, not to mention the thick lenses of his spectacles that made his eyes bulge like a haddock’sExcept the fish reference isn't metaphorical, as we discover Eddie was fathered by Poseidon in CreteNereids sunbathed on Inchcolm Island while a huge shoal of silver fish whirled the Forth into a vortex, in obeisance to their secret god – Eddie, King of the Fish. “Thank you, loyal subjects,”Eddie said, giving a regal wave to the inhabitants of his watery realm.The stories are linked by recurrent motifs. To list just a few: the Greek gods, Crete, Watson's school in Edinburgh, wolfkins, an Emmerdale-like soap called Green Acres, a car crash on the M9 and, particularly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer from whose episodes, as well of those of Star Trek, some of the plots are explicitly borrowed.And the same characters and the links between them recur to an almost farcical extent. As one example: The story "Evil Doppelgangers" features Fielding, TV columnist for a newspaper, who seems to have a doppelganger as he sleeps each night with a far more adventurous night life than Fielding ever managed. This seems to be cosmic revenge for him having once dated Trudi (from the opening and closing story) and having treated her as interchangable with her twin Heidi, as we learn in another story featuring Heidi, who is recovering from the break-up with Fletcher, a writer on Green Acres, and who also dated Meredith Zane a character in another story (yet another features Meredith's sister Nanci). In the latest episode of Green Acres, which Fielding is watching during his story, there is guest appearance from a reality-TV star Romney. Romney, we learn in another story, has a young-son Arthur from the lead-singer of a Scottish metal band Boak, now looked after by her super-nanny Missy. Missy is best friends with Heidi as well as appearing, in an earlier job, in another story. We first encounter Boak as listened to by Simon, teenage son of Pam, Eddie's teacher from the story re the fish god. Pam in a later story goes into business making wedding favours, which are seen at the wedding fair by Charlene, Trudi's friend in the opening story (and quote that opens this review) etc etc [trust me, this is a simplification]I bought this book when Kate Atkinson appeared at the Wimbledon Bookfest last Summer, particularly when she described one of the stories as her absolute favourite piece of her own writing. As I recall this was "Temporal Anomaly", where Meredith is caught in the car-crash on the M9, witnessed by several other characters in different stories, but finds herself in a strange limbo between life and death, and one can sense the roots of Life after Life and God in Ruins. But my personal favourite was Unseen Translation where a Mary-Poppins like nanny, Missy (who acts as a key link between many of the characters) absconds with her ward, literally turning into the goddess Artemis.Overall a difficult one to rate. It was a very enjoyable read, both the fun nature of each story and hunting down the 'I'm sure I recognise that name' links between them. On the other hand the whole thing feels a little disposable and there is a large 'so what' hanging over the whole collection: the stories aren't particularly memorable (by the end of the book, which I read over 2 days, I was struggling to remember those at the start) and the cross-references while at times intriguing can be equally infuriating in their temporal inconsistencies [it would be interesting to read the book in an e-version with hyperlinks] and, crucially, are actually largely irrelevant.But I will bump it up to 4 stars if only for the personal dedication in my signed copy!

  • Ally
    2019-05-05 14:16

    I really enjoyed the intelligent but kooky nature of this book. It's a 5 star read for me.I don't think I understood enough of the references to ancient Greek/Roman mythology so I'm off to do some research and reading. I also must read more of Atkinson's work as I thought her writing style was really engaging. - It speaks volumes that I scored this book 5/5 when I dislike dystopian or 'magical/fantasy' fiction in general. I think Atkinson approached her themes in a way that was entirely different from anything else I've read - she has a style all of her own, which makes her unique and interesting.I was inclined to look for a 'purpose' to these stories - possibly a political or moral message. As a result, I feel it’s quite important to read these stories in order and to continue to the end. The final chapter kind of made sense of it all for me, the idea of recapturing our oral tradition that was mentioned a few pages from the end hits the nail on the head as far as the purpose of this book is concerned. I think the references to pop culture, juxtaposed as they are against a backdrop of ancient greco-roman mythology are a comment on modern pre-occupations and that perhaps we are steaming our way to our own destruction in a valueless society. Pop culture is somehow vapid when aligned so expertly by Atkinson with the deeper religious and mystical significance of the ancient world. Capitalism as a whole is undermined here but it’s done ever-so-subtly and in a way that doesn't appear dogmatic.I really liked this thought provoking set of tales and I think the short story genre was a perfect medium. It is rare to find a really great short story writer - so many of the short stories you read come across as simply pre-cursers to longer novels or appear as 'practice' on the part of the writer. I fell in love with well written short stories when I first read Katherine Mansfield & I feel that Atkinson is on a par with Mansfield as far as the impact of her writing is concerned (although the content/plot/genre structure is rather different). - The rules governing short stories are so little understood and so I feel Atkinson is very rare.I'm beguiled, mesmerised and very impressed.

  • Nancy
    2019-04-25 10:27

    Mildly amusing, but a little too quirky for me, I guess. Several of the stories were more than a little surreal, which was a bit distracting, as was the little conceit of referring to some of characters in different stories which kept me flipping to try and recall "was he in a previous story, which one?" I am sure that there was some deeper message to the structure, but I wasn't getting it. I tend not to pick books because they are "trendy" or "stylish" as those are not typically traits that lend themselves to becoming classics. The allusions to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other topics may become classics one day, I cannot profess to see that far, but if not, like watching 1980s cell phones in movies, such references may date the writing and distract the reader of the future.The fact that I have been reading all the pre-Jackson Brodie books in the past couple of weeks might have been a little to much all in a row. It has been interesting to read them, and I can see how she has developed stylistically to some extent, but I am glad I started with the Brodie books as I might not have developed the same degree of appreciation before delving into her previous work.

  • David
    2019-05-01 10:40

    I'm not a big fan of short stories, but this is something else. It was the only book written by Kate Atkinson that I hadn't read, and I'm so glad I did. They could easily be described as "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" to borrow the title of Edgar Allan Poe's collection. Each has a grounding in reality whilst at the same time being somewhat fantastical. I have no knowledge of Greek Gods, but they obviously have a lot to answer for. Each story is a perfect little gem, and there are occasionally little connections between them that have you trying to remember where you heard a name before. But what really stands out is the writing. Typical Atkinson, sharp, witty, intelligent, modern. In fact everything I love in a book. Pure genius.

  • Shaun
    2019-05-22 13:24

    Enjoyed this collection of short stories. A few misses but overall an entertaining read.

  • Trin
    2019-05-16 13:23

    The one where Atkinson bases an entire story around the Buffy episode "The Replacement." Have I mentioned that I love her?

  • W.B.
    2019-05-04 14:14

    THE BODY SPIRITUAL: A REVIEW OF KATE ATKINSON'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLDThe title of Atkinson's collection of short stories is decidedly ironic, since for many of the characters who populate these stories it is indeed "the end of the world." Many of them die, and others undergo metamorphoses; these latter characters are often transported to new, otherworldly modes of existence. One senses Atkinson wanted to effect a transposition of Ovid's masterful work bearing that same name (his Metamorphoses) into contemporary terms and settings. If you had any doubt that the ancient world is Aktinson's major source of inspiration, the epigraphs with which she opens her stories--gleaned from sources like "The Homeric Hymn to Artemis," Virgil, and Ovid himself--should set your mind at ease. But there are also epigraphs by other wild visionaries, like Christopher Smart (from "Jubilate Agno,") William Blake and Poe. One senses this author has gone to the wildest muses for inspiration, to nurture the wildest fruits of her imagination.The fanciful is brought back in style with this collection, given a new makeover, and thrown back into the world with enough sinew, nerve and fiery loins to satisfy tabloidia. But something else is added which appeals to us, which quickens us, in ways we've almost forgotten. To speak more exactly, these stories often satisfy with a (paradoxically) visceral appeal to something spiritual we've buried deep within us for so long now--our desire for divinity which reflects us and responds to us, desire for magical metamorphoses and escapes, for gifts we are told were once freely bestowed on mortals, long ago. I am speaking of gifts like immortality or omnipotence or omniscience. We're not asking for that much here, are we? Atkinson understands completely and tries to deliver.Sometimes she succeeds masterfully. Other times she seems to veer off and become distracted just as she is writing a potential masterpiece. It would probably be best to discuss each story briefly (spoiler alert) and try to judge how successful she's been in each case.The opening story, "Charlene and Trudi Go Shopping," is a celebration of the love at the heart of friendship, and is set during yet another contemporary nightmare, another Rwanda or Bosnia; the author wisely never explains the who, where, when or wherefore. The "end of the world" in this scenario is pretty literal--yet another one of history's garden variety apocalypses--but the two women at the heart of this tale are still trying to go about their business, buying a mother a birthday present, taking tea, amusing themselves with conversation. They just engage in these activities while buildings, people, and illusions--like the idea that civilization is not something ephemeral as a soap bubble or a dandelion's fluffy head--are falling all around them. The story is charming in its fatalism, which is the fatalism of the two central characters, who have (like most souls eventually do on this planet) unfortunately come to an understanding of history's randomness and the individual's largely hopeless plight before implacable forces of nature and the irrationality of humankind. So what do they do? They play Scrabble as the world ends. Can you blame them? Sounds like a fine distraction to me. But these women are charming. They fully engage the sensuousness of each other's imaginations constantly, listing all the rich beauties of life on earth which are now unobtainable, and somehow vicariously enjoying them. These conversations are often taking place in large department stores where the women are shopping, in one scene only half-responding to a fire that's started in the nearby Haberdashery apartment. Well, if you want to call it shopping. "Mere anarchy" has indeed been "loosed on the world" and things like money are suddenly irrelevant. For example, Trudi's raincatcher is a particularly fine antique Sevres urn lifted from a museum. Why not? (Memories of Baghdad and Babylonian artifacts, anyone?) They are thoroughly jaded but somehow managing to live their lives in impossible circumstances, as so many people on this planet must be doing right now. Reading this sort of well-written "fiction" can't help but make you think of reality. This is a story very much about the unimaginable and the imaginable, and their terrible marriage--which needs counseling so bad--and probably will never receive it."The radio station was off the air. The television station had been destroyed a long time ago. The city rain out of diesel and gin. People burned musty old paperbacks on bonfires and drank rum. There was a festive atmosphere generated by communal terror."There was no food for the animals in the zoo. The animal freedom militia unlocked their cages so that now there were bears rooting in dustbins and penguins swimming in the river and at night the tigers roaming the streets roared so loudly that no one could sleep. Trudi lay awake listening to the tigers roaring and the bears growling and the wolves howling and the dragons breathing fire over the blacked-out, rain-sodden streeets of the city. A family of small green lizards took up residence in her apartment."If you think this couldn't happen to you in a matter of days (even if it's unlikely) you haven't been on this planet long enough, or haven't read enough history. The combination of charm and jaded terror at the heart of Atkinson's story is something distinctly contemporary, born of a generation that knows it is really just living the ultimate reality t.v. show now. You can't stop and speak to the camera or the cameraman or divinity. Engage your fellow actors only, please. The fourth wall is gone.I love the "wolfkin" who appears in this tale (you'll have to read this to find out!) The story doesn't end here, but the tale does. Aktinson uses two Charlene and Trudi narratives as non-mythical bookends for this collection of largely mythical stories, for the closing tale, "Pleasureland," returns us to the two women's lives amidst apocalypse. They see us out, as we "see them out" of a very beautiful world gone ridiculously unbearable. The women never lose sight of the richness of the world that is burning around them, so in that sense they almost strike one as divinities. Perhaps Atkinson has secretly encoded yet another myth in these opening and closing tales which we have to decode. It seems possible, for her interpretations of the myths of Rome and Greece are often done with a very free hand, which is really the only way to transpose these stories into our contemporary lives.Or perhaps the author is being true now to ancient Greek cosmology as well as Greek mythology, and showing us that the world begins in chaos, and will end in chaos. Now that I stumble upon that idea, I think I may have figured out her formalist cleverness. By George (and shade of Hesiod,) I think I got it!There is a rich tradition in European literature of such "mythic transpositions" as Atkinson is effecting here. It was actually a literary genre once. Allow me to share with you a portion of the Wikipedia entry on Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice." I found this fascinating:"The novella is constructed on a framework of references to Greek mythology, and Aschenbach's Venice seems populated by the gods. By dedicating himself to Apollo, the god of reason and the intellect, Aschenbach has denied the power of Dionysus, god of unreason and of passion. Dionysus seems to have followed Aschenbach to Venice with the intent of destroying him: the red-haired man who keeps crossing von Aschenbach's path, in the guise of different characters, is none other than Silenus, chief follower of the god of unreason. Silenus' role is disputed, since he bears no physical resemblance to the secondary characters in the book. In the Benjamin Britten opera these characters (The Traveller, the Gondolier, The Leading player and the Voice of Dionysus) are played by the same baritone singer, who also plays the Hotel Manager, The Barber and the Old Man on the Vaporetto. The trope of placing Classical deities in contemporary settings was popular at the time when Mann was writing Death in Venice: in England, at almost the same time, E.M. Forster was at work on an entire short-story collection based on this premise. The idea of the opposition of the Apollonian and Dionysian seems to have been introduced by Nietzsche, and was also a popular motif of the time."Was the E.M. Forster work alluded to here Atkinson's literary inspiration? I have not read the Forster book referenced, or even ascertained whether he actually brought such a book to fruition, but I am curious now and want to know the answer.The second tale in this collection is "Tunnel of Fish," the story of a fatherless, rather nerdy boy, and the mother who doesn't know what to do with him. The good news for young Eddie is that there is a secret regarding his paternity that even his mother hasn't guessed yet. Think Leda and the Swan, or Zeus coming in a shower of gold to Danae: same idea but a different god.The tale is delivered up with deftness and subtlety, and when even the boy's mother forgets the ungainly, forgettable boy's birthday, the forces of nature conspire to deliver their own gifts (nay, omens of confirmation) to the boy on his natal day:"Eddie had his nose pressed to the back windows of the van. The rain had cleared behind them, bathing Fife in a watery gold sun. Down in the water Eddie could see mermaids leaping out of the river like salmon, their goldfish tails catching the sun. Nereids sunbathed on Inchholm Island while a huge shoal of silverfish whirled the Roth into a vortex in obeisance to their secret god--Eddie, King of the Fish. "Thank you, loyal subjects," Eddie said, MY REVIEW IS MORE THAN 10,000 CHARACTERS SO IT IS CONTINUED ON MY BLOG, JOE BRAINARD'S

  • Marsia
    2019-05-15 15:29

    These short stories delighted me so much that, before I'd even finished reading them, I went out in search of more books by Kate Atkinson. I've now read all her novels as well as this book of stories and have pressed them all upon my book-reading friends. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD is a good introduction to this exceptionally readable, humorous, yet seriously literary author. It includes stories that at first seem unrelated, but as one progresses through the collection, themes emerge, and one begins to notice details, then characters, from previous stories turning up occasionally. The last story resumes where the first one left off, bringing it all together. But this is a book you can read more than once over time--after your friends return it to you.

  • Zara
    2019-04-22 15:16

    Atkinson is just the best. Her stories are dark and disturbing and hilarious, and I loved returning to some (but not all!) of the characters. Her stories often have some weird, unexplainable magical/fantastical elements which confuse and delight me. My favorites in the collection are Sheer Big Waste of Love, Unseen Translation, and maybe Evil Döpplegangers.

  • Katie Lumsden
    2019-05-16 12:40

    A brilliant and interesting collection of short stories. As always, Kate Atkinson writes in a beautiful, subtle, elegant style - she manages to capture characters superbly, and writes about the extraordinary in a beautifully matter-of-fact way.

  • Storyheart
    2019-04-29 12:41

    3.5 stars. Very much enjoyed this collection of fantastical interlinking short stories by one of my favourite authors.

  • Pixie Dust
    2019-04-30 17:32

    I only managed to get through 6 of the stories before giving up. Hence, I gave it 2 stars rather than one, for the benefit of doubt. But the first 6 stories were enough to convince me that Atkinson is, to put it mildly, just not quite my style.To begin with, the title Not the End of the World is a rip-off of Judy Blume’s highly popular young adult novel, It’s Not the End of the World. A Wikipedia search also informed me that the title Not the End of the World has been used several other times by other writers. (The conceit of exploring the different possible turns a life can take in her current bestseller, Life After Life, by the way, has also already been done in the film Run, Lola, Run.) So zero points for originality. The writing is too measured and the metaphors too carefully crafted for the pieces to flow with grace. I could just imagine Atkinson sitting and writing, thesaurus in hand, replacing every other word. That might work for some, but here, there’s a pompous air about it. It just doesn’t feel natural. And ironically, while the book reads like she’s trying too hard most of the time, at times it seems like she’s not trying at all! The pathetic fallacy employed, for example, in “Sheer Big Waste of Love”, where the thunder clapped and the sky darkened and rain poured down, all to punctuate the emotions that the narrator and his mother were feeling, had a very secondary school juvenile air about it.

  • Cindy Huffman
    2019-04-26 10:39

    I read Case Histories by this author last year. It was a very good book and Kate has a great style where there are different stories going on that eventually connect.In Not the End of the World, Atkinson does the same thing. Different stories, but this time, too many. I found myself often flipping back, trying to find chapters to see where I recalled "a" (one) character being mentioned before.What made it even more confusing for me was some of these characters occurred in different eras. A character is mentioned in passing by an adult niece and then later, the character is introduced before the niece's time. This wasn't obvious until I went back through the pages to figure out why a name sounded familiar. There was just too many people to keep up with and in the end, it never connected. I ended up confused, trying to figure out what the main point of the story was. I think I have it figured -- the end tried to connect the two -- but for me, that explanation was as bad as Bobby Ewing waking up from a bad dream...

  • Kaethe
    2019-05-14 12:31

    I haven't been able to get either daughter interested in The Twilight Zone, not as TV, nor as collections of really marvelous short stories. The episode or two I've made them watch is interesting as text, but way too melodramatic as drama. I mention that because this is a collection of short fiction that comes from a twilight zone. Things are not as we would normally expect, although they are interconnected. The mood, as in the Jackson Brodie books, is melancholy with occasional bright spots. I don't know why Atkinson is considered a literary writer rather than a genre writer, but the distinction means she gets jackets that look serious and arty, not at all embarrassing to be seen with. If awards matter to you, Atkinson is your gal, she's won many from the beginning. But the main thing is that the stories are so much fun to read.Library copy

  • Josie
    2019-05-04 14:14

    I assumed the stories would all be completely separate, so I was surprised to discover links between them. I loved experiencing a sense of recognition when minor characters from one story got their chance to shine in a later tale. I liked the way it tied the whole book together, as did the recurring themes of Greek mythology, death, the fictional soap Green Acres, Buffy, and the mysterious wolfkin. My favourite tales were probably Unseen Translation and The Cat Lover. I thought the first and last tales were out of place with the rest of the book, taking place as they did in an undefined apocolyptic world, but apparently those are set in the "real world" and the middle stories were told by Charlene and Trudi to distract each other from the end of the world. (Was I the only reader not to get this?)

  • Jen
    2019-05-03 14:36

    Okay, I'm not a writer, but this book just seemed like some sort of practice exercise you would do for a class: Take all the random characters that have been bouncing around in your head but you haven't been able to work into a novel. Write them into some random scenes. Give a character from each short story a cameo in a following story. For further cohesiveness, make sure each story references Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and add a boring framing story at the beginning/end. That said, Kate Atkinson does characters well, especially some of the preteen kids, which is why this book is not 2 stars.

  • Kirsty Darbyshire
    2019-04-30 09:40

    Ostensibly this is a collection of short stories but I'd advise doing what I did: start at the beginning and read them through like they're a book. Because they are, sort of. Very loose and not quite plotted but they work well in order. I'm torn between saying that they are individually nonsense and collectively make sense, or individually quite sensible and collectively quite nonsensical, so I'll just say both and add that I really enjoy reading Kate Atkinson's stuff and hope that there's lots more coming for me to read.

  • Lainie
    2019-04-30 12:22

    I always enjoy Kate Atkinson's writing, and these stories are no exception. She smoothly weaves surreal/magical realist elements into her stories of ordinary people in everyday settings. If you have an affection for classical mythology, you will enjoy her use of gods, goddesses, and mythological events to add a layer of metaphor and magic to the experiences of her contemporary characters. If you are a fan of the Jackson Brodie detective novels, don't expect the same stuff here. These are distinctly short stories, with characters that recur and eventual connections revealed. Recommended.

  • Hannah Rae
    2019-05-12 15:32

    A seemingly random book of short stories, I realized around halfway through Not the End of the World that the characters in the singular tales actually overlap quite a bit. A few of these stories are just downright weird; others are incredibly sad. Several made me laugh. Did I love it in the same way I loved Atkinson's Life After Life? No way. But I did like it. I liked it rather a lot.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-23 09:31

    A bad book. What a disappointment.

  • Nathan McMahon
    2019-04-26 15:42

    Not entirely sure about this book. This is a book of short stories which you eventually find out are staged around a particular context. Some of the stories were interesting (maybe 2), but I found pretty much all of the other stories redundant and uneventful. I even found myself wanting to abandon the book on a number of occasions.Without spoiling anything, the book is a collection of short stories in the vein of magical realism. Which sounds like my cup of tea, and this book was actually recommended to me by a friend.But I found the stories generally dull and uneventful. I was introduced to countless characters who all seemed rather flat and similar - like across all of the different stories I was reading about the same people but with different names. The stories seemed to focus around mundane lives; things we normally do (which I don't have a problem with). But I was literally struggling to find any reason for me to care about these stories. It didn't even seem that the characters cared much either.The magical realism is very VERY minimal also. Imagine reading stories about your neighbour and their kid going to school and the kid being a bit odd. The kid has a preoccupation with fishes for some reason and they're going to the aquarium... Then wham bang! right at the very end of the story there is a subtle suggestion that the kid may not have been a kid the whole time, though you're not entirely sure what the kid is, or how it is relevant to anything.The best story I found was about the doppelganger. But even though that was my favourite of the book, the story went nowhere and finished without any development of any kind, other than the last lines of the story hinting that maybe it was a deeper philosophical conundrum than just a doppelganger.I felt like I was reading an experiment: Lets see if melodrama is interesting reading if the melodrama is dressed as almost maybe magical realism...

  • katemfs
    2019-04-26 14:38

    This is quirky. I'm not sure how it ended up on my list, but it sat in my "to read" for a long time so when I saw it on sale at Powell's, I had to finally buy it.It's a collection of short stories. The characters are shared, but the plot lines are not necessarily. Make of that what you will.There are quite a few Buffy references in the stories. In one moment, a narrator ponders the Buffy/Spike relationship for a whole paragraph. Even though I'm a Buffy fan (nerd alert!), I did kind of feel like it softened the read a little bit. There were some really rad themes, some interesting concepts being toyed with, but I was so curious about the damned Buffy tie-ins that I found it distracting. Dear Kate Atkinson, are you a die-hard Btvs fan? Are you somehow connected to the (I can't believe I'm using this phrase) Buffyverse? Are you just sort of fangirl-ish by nature and this was your *thing* while you were writing? Do you regret the choice to lean so heavily on the subtext of the tv show now? Just curious. -kate.

  • Sarah Hale
    2019-04-26 09:26

    I'm always attracted to books that have some element of folk tale to them (Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, Alan Garner), and so I was pleasantly surprised to find a thread of Greek mythology woven throughout this collection of short stories. I had picked up this book in my local library while looking for something akin to David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, and strangely enough, I feel there are a number of similarities between the two authors' styles here. I have never read any of Atkinson's works before, but I was beguiled by the way she subtly linked each story with common themes of death, metamorphosis, absent parents and ancient Greek literature. I liked the surreal/magical realism elements too. I didn't always warm to her characters, as they varied from being irritating and obnoxious to pathetically lukewarm, but they were all vividly drawn.

  • Barbm1020
    2019-05-11 12:16

    This is more than a collection of short stories. It's a series. In each episode, tenuous connections among the characters appear, disappear and reappear, sometimes unsuspected by the characters themselves. The setting is not the real world of today. It's a weird melange of a dystopian near future with a heavy dose of cynical Scottish gloom and bad parenting, almost existential except that the Classical gods break in pretty often. Sometimes it tastes like the Twilight Zone. I nearly stopped reading halfway through the book because nothing is ever resolved, ever. I'm glad I didn't, though, because I just love Missy and Arthur. If you loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I didn't) you will probably understand it better.

  • Laura Dugan
    2019-04-23 16:42

    I might not have been in the right frame of mind when I read this... I love Atkinson. The way she winds her characters together is phenomenal. But I found this book confusing and was waiting for a "pop" at the end... that never came. I could be too literal, or, like I said, it could have just been my frame of mind. The connections were still good, but there was a lot of mythology and suspending belief and I don't do well with either unless I'm well prepared (like with Jasper Fforde's books). I'm still a fan of Atkinson, but much prefer the Case Histories/One Good Turn/When Will There Be Good News series.

  • Glenn
    2019-05-19 09:41

    I "read" this book twice as an audio book, because I have a long commute. It is a collection of short stories and they are very bizarre, but awfully fun. Some of the stories are loosely connected and I won't say any more, because you might read/listen and ponder if there's any meaning to the connections. I think the audio version would probably be better than the book, because (a) the reader has an ideal English accent and (b) there are lots of really fancy words that just sound so good when spoken.

  • Laura Edwards
    2019-05-17 09:32

    First off, the above synopsis on Goodreads is misleading. Though the story described is included, this is a book of short stories, not a novel about one boy and his nanny.I recently read and enjoyed "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and was excited to read another book by Kate Atkinson and decided to try this collection of short stories. Like most collections, some stories are good, others not so much. I did find it interesting how they were all woven together and how it all tied in with Charlene and Trudi and the way they dealt with their unfortunate circumstances.