2008: 74. Human Croquet

“Call me Isobel. (It’s my name.) This is my history.  Where shall I begin?”

Human Croquet, Kate Atkinson

This novel, by the author of Case Histories, Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Emotionally Weird and One Good Turn.  I have loved some and not been impressed with others (which is to say, I really liked the first two and didn’t adore the second two).  This one falls somewhere in the middle.  It is the story of Isobel, who lives with her father, brother, stepmother and great aunt in a small English town in the 1960’s (her mother disappeared years before).  The story drifts around through the past and present (well, the 1960’s), and Isobel herself seems to drifts back and forth through time as well, seeing strange things and reliving certain moments over and over again.  I quite enjoyed the story - I always like books that unravel family secrets, which this one does,  and the way it unfolds what happened slowly, unpeeling the story the same way Isobel floats through the past.  The thing that stopped me from loving it was that it drifted a bit too much through the past - a little too unhinged.  The drifting back and forth through Isobel’s life and even that of her parents is illuminating in telling her story, but the pieces set in the far past - the middle ages and all that is just confusing and self indulgent, and doesn’t add much.  Still, I enjoyed reading the book, once I got a sense of the rhythms of the time travel stuff, and I would recommend it, even if it isn’t as good as her best books.

Date/Place Completed: 5/29/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017