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Emotionally Weird Summary
Write your own review Close Review Form. Only registered users can write reviews. That is, if Nora is her mother, and if any of the stories either of them tell are true "My mother is a virgin".
These are unreliable narrators in top form, keeping readers guessing delightedly throughout. The author uses different fonts to intertwine several narratives, including hilarious entries from Effie's, and her classmates', novels-in-progress, while these excerpts are interrupted by Nora's snide commentary.
Effie's academic hijinks may be a bit exaggerated, since she's slogging along on a paper on George Eliot while living with occasional electricity and a continually stoned boyfriend.
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But truly alarming things are happening in Dundee: someone is killing residents of a retirement home, and a strange woman is following Effie. While the narrators' constant backtalk can be tiresome, Atkinson's clever and sophisticated prose preserves the voices' sparkling energy.
by Richard Powers
Readers may guess the family secret before it is revealed, but that doesn't steal any thunder from the unsettling and utterly original denouement. On a peat and heather island off the west coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother Nora take refuge in the large mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories.
Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear, like who her father was — variously Jimmy, Jack, or Ernie. Effie tells of her life at college in Dundee, the land of cakes and William Wallace, where she lives in a lethargic relationship with Bob, a student who never goes to lectures, seldom gets out of bed, and to whom the Klingons are as real as the French and the Germans more real than the Luxemburgers. Larkin may be right, your parents fuck you up but in Atkinson's novels you have to find out who they are before you can start laying blame.
On the surface, Emotionally Weird follows the trend. Effie and her mother Nora are staying in the decaying family home on a small island off the West coast of Scotland.
Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson | LibraryThing
To keep themselves amused they begin telling stories. Nora's are about their ancestors, in whose veins blood blue as "delphiniums and lupins" flows, and the real identity of Effie's father and mother. Nora's language is like her "sea-change eyes", full of poetry and strange beauty. Effie's tales of life at the University of Dundee and her life with Star Trek obsessed Bob are more prosaic and funny: "I did so hope that Bob was a dress rehearsal, a kind of mock relationship, like a mock exam, to prepare me for the real thing.
The novel becomes troublesome where it follows Effie to a creative writing course at the university. The class is run by Martha: who writes poetry "with impenetrable syntax about a life where nothing happened. Archetypal detective stories, sword and sorcery fantasy, doctor and nurse romantic scenarios, existential angst and liberal use of ellipses are given free reign.
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Whilst this self-conscious wordplay is fun for those who enjoy a more literary book, those who simply enjoy a good read may get lost in the jostle of competing language construction. In this novel, confused paternity is only part of the struggle for identity, the words you use are also defining- you are what you write.
Some readers will revel in the Shandy-esque shape of the experimental in this narrative, others may find it's a literary joke taken too far. Kate Atkinson has struck gold with this unique offering. Atkinson's funniest foray yet Convert currency. Add to Basket.