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Emotionally weird : a comic novel by Kate…

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

by Kate Atkinson

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1,252296,326 (3.51)76
Title:Emotionally weird : a comic novel
Authors:Kate Atkinson
Info:London : Doubleday, 2000.
Collections:Your library, A stack, Commonwealth, Global reading, Read 2013
Tags:British fiction, Scotland, Read 2013

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Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson (2000)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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 |
Like the Curate's egg, good in parts. Goes on a bit too long, and takes some wild turns which didn't really do anything for me. On the other hand, it is a hilarious picture of student life at a red brick uni during the early 1970s. ( )
  herschelian | Jul 7, 2013 |
Well as there has been much discussion of late on this author, I decided it was time to read this book. The only one of hers I had languishing on my shelves.
It is a multi-layered tale, not easily described.
Effie has grown up as the daughter of Nora Andrews, however as her mother is a virgin, there is obviously more to her background than has been revealed.
Effie and her mother retreat to a an island off the coast of Scotland and tell each other stories of their pasts. Effie's tale of life at university, is at times humorous, but at others incredible and downright weird, peppered with an assortment of eccentric characters. Within this story snippets of Effie's and other students writings occur, each distinguished by a different font. Nora slowly relates her own past and that of Effie's birth. The stories eventually entwine and all tales are neatly concluded.
I initially enjoyed this book however the carryings-on of Effie and her contemporaries at university became tedious, farcical and pointless. Perhaps, I am too serious in my approach to life but I preferred Nora's bleak account. I can also recognise the forming of the idea for her Jackson Brodie series of books. ( )
1 vote HelenBaker | Apr 17, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:54 -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)

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Average: (3.51)
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1.5 1
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