10-pages-in book review: Case Histories

I’m about 40 pages into Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories.

I can’t remember where I read the recommendation for this book, and I wish I could. The person making a recommendation has a lot to do with my frame of mind when I start reading a book. I didn’t know a thing about it when I started reading, hadn’t even read the Amazon reviews.

(Sidebar: do you like to read a lot of reviews or talk to a lot of people who’ve read the book before you read it, or do you prefer a blank slate? Just curious.)

I almost put it down within the first two chapters. I just couldn’t see where it was going. More accurately, I wasn’t sure it was somewhere I wanted to go. But there’s just enough in it to make me curious. I think it’s going to be a series of linked short stories, and I’ve always been a fan of short stories. The tone is very sombre, though. Not nearly as uplifting as that other book I can’t stop thinking about.

One thing I do find quaint about this book is that the edition I’m reading hasn’t been edited to take out all the charming little British colloquialisms. You can feel the cadence of the British speech rhythms in the writing. (This is the same reason I liked Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone so much better than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.)

So I’ve decided to stick with it.

Hmmm, after getting all this down, I’m beginning to doubt just how clever my new little trick is. Not much meat, is there? Speak, bloggy friends: what say ye? Shall we give it one more try?

Edited 19 June to add this conclusion:

I was wrong. This is really quite a terrific book! I got so wrapped up in the quirky characters and their odd entanglements that I was sad when the book ended. I wanted to know more about them, their lives, and where it all ended up.

Definitely worth reading!


Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

4 thoughts on “10-pages-in book review: Case Histories”

  1. How much meat can one expect after only 40 pages anyway? I think this is great.
    Perhaps it’d also be good if, when you finish the book, you throw us a final thought or two and let us know whether the book matched your 10-page impression (i.e. whether it got better, got worse, should be used for kindling, etc.).
    Cool stuff.

  2. I loved this book and when I saw that you weren’t enjoying it, I had to go and read your review! I’m so glad you stuck it out. I was touched by this book and it has stuck with me for a few months now. I too, loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, but would you believe I had taken it out of the library 3 times before I ended up listening to it. Talk about a book sticking with you. The recorded version had a man and a woman reading it, which added to the experience. I find that I’ll be walking somewhere and I’ll have a deja vu to a point in the book and get a bit sad….Last book that touched me like that was Saturday. Can’t wait for the next one!

  3. Aren’t you glad you stuck with it? Atkinson has such a way of tying everything together toward the end that you just don’t expect but absolutely adore.
    Her new book coming out this fall “One Good Turn” is a companion (I hate saying sequel) to “Case Histories).

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