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Emotionally weird : a comic novel by Kate…
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Emotionally weird : a comic novel (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Kate Atkinson

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1,276316,177 (3.51)76
Member:VivienneR
Title:Emotionally weird : a comic novel
Authors:Kate Atkinson
Info:London : Doubleday, 2000.
Collections:Your library, A stack, Commonwealth, Global, Read 2013
Rating:***1/2
Tags:British fiction, Scotland, Read 2013

Work details

Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson (2000)

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English (30)  Dutch (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Effie and her mother Nora tell each other stories of their lives, interspersed with fictional endeavours. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Jun 25, 2015 |
On the face of it I wouldn't like this. Confused & careless college students who take drugs instead of striving to learn or even get a degree are not characters I'd empathize with. Nor do I read mysteries, and underneath all the literary stylings the 'plot' was a mystery. Yet somehow I finished it and was glad I did. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
This is my least favorite of Kate Atkinson's novels. I have struggled mightily to get to p 171. Another reviewer (Helen Baker) is spot on when she remarks..."the carryings-on of Effie and her contemporaries at university became tedious, farcical and pointless." This part of the book is wearing me out! I have put it down & am reading something else in the hope that I can muster the initiative to pick it back up & finish. I had already guessed how everything comes together before I read a spoiler, but still not sure if I will ever call it brilliant. There's just too much of the tedious, farcical & pointless. Sorry, Kate! ( )
  jamaicanmecrazy | Feb 20, 2015 |
An astonishingly erudite and witty book about writing. Utterly brilliant. Maybe this is primarily a book for writers. ( )
  MargaritaMorris | Oct 16, 2014 |
Very funny and interesting. Not quite like any other book I've ever read, the plot kept me going until the very end and I was actually surprised by the unveiling! The criss-cross of narrative and stories is very well delivered and I love that the writer herself is heard through out the story. Gives you the feeling that you're a part of the writing.

The characters are amazingly portraied. I would seriously be up for spending an afternoon drinking tee with Professor Cousins, Mrs MacBeth and Mrs McCue. Not at the McCue's house though, that sounded kind of disgusting. I wonder if the salmon's still there...

Just read this book. if not for anything else, for the fact that Bob discovered the meaning of life. Deep stuff! ( )
  joanasimao | Sep 28, 2013 |
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For Lesley Denby, nee Allison, with love.
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Inspector Jack Gannett drove into Saltsea-on-Sea along the coast road.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031227999X, Paperback)

Readers who survive the first 20 pages of this dense and playful novel, with its three different openings, constant jokes, and crowded cast of characters, will find themselves rewarded with a leisurely postmodern romp through the student ferment and bodily indulgences of the early 1970s. Although the publisher has called Emotionally Weird a comic novel, it is essentially unclassifiable, both further-reaching and less "meaningful" than it first appears. Kate Atkinson's book begins with chapter 1 of a bad murder mystery being written by Effie Andrews for a creative-writing course at the University of Dundee in 1972. But the action soon shifts to a wintry island in the Hebrides, where Effie is trying to elicit the story of her parentage from her single mother, Nora, while spinning a humorous first-person narrative of her college life. Only near the end of the book does she finally wrench the story from her mother: Effie's bizarre origins; the identity of her father; and the whole unlikely tale of her mother's family.

Like a Borgesian labyrinth, with other stories thrown in, including a laughably convenient introduction of magic realism, it is impossible to know what to take seriously--or "jocoseriously," to paraphrase another of Atkinson's influences: the Joyce of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. In her third novel, much of Atkinson's humor is incidental, even parenthetical. (We are told in passing, for example, that Effie's dissertation is called "Henry James: Man or Maze?") She is at her best when introducing her eccentric characters, such as the elderly Professor Cousins, who is sometimes lucid, sometimes not. "As with anyone in the department," Effie explains, "it wasn't always easy to distinguish between the two states. The university's strict laws of tenure dictated that he had to be dead at least three months before he could be removed from behind his desk." Professor Cousins, like the author, enjoys word games along the order of those in Alice in Wonderland, and Atkinson's use of Scottish idiom comes to function as a sort of word game. She also brings in a few killjoys (a militant feminist, a militant Christian, a literary theorist) to complicate an already loopy narrative and to spike the punch.

Janice smelt of piety and coal tar soap. She had recently become a Christian, a neophyte of a student Christian fellowship whose members roamed the corridors of Airlie, Belmont and Chalmers Halls looking for likely converts (the afraid, the alone, the abandoned) and those who needed to use the Bible to fill in the spaces where their personalities should have been.
As Emotionally Weird develops, Atkinson relies more and more on the postmodern gag of characters commenting on the unfolding action. There is no telling how she finally draws these disparate threads onto a single spool, but in the end, even the slightest subplots are neatly tied up and the most transient characters accounted for. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:56 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Seeking refuge in the ancient, mouldering home of their ancestors on an island off the coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother Nora reveal the secrets of their past and present lives and loves to each other.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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