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Emotionally Weird
Cover of Emotionally Weird
Emotionally Weird

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).But strange things are happening. Why is Effie being followed?Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog?

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).But strange things are happening. Why is Effie being followed?Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog?

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About the Author-
  • Kate Atkinson is one of the world's foremost novelists. She won the Costa Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her three critically lauded and prizewinning novels set around World War II are Life After Life, A God in Ruins (both winners of the Costa Novel Award), and Transcription.

    Her bestselling literary crime novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog became a BBC television series starring Jason Isaacs. Jackson Brodie returns in her new novel Big Sky.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 29, 2000
    When Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, beat out Salman Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh for the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year Award, a controversy in the British press ensued. But this imaginative and unconventional writer strikes back at her detractors in her third book (after Human Croquet), skewering the academic literary establishment with understated but spot-on humor, while telling an imaginative tale both outrageously funny and poignantly human: Tom Robbins meets John Irving. Euphemia "Effie" Andrews, a 21-year-old Scot and student at the University of Dundee, arrives at a remote, barren Scottish island to swap life stories with her mother, Nora. Effie comes with a slew of tales about the free-love and druggy chaos of her early 1970s college life, and also armed with questions for Nora, determined to learn the truth about their family history. 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. 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. Readers may guess the family secret before it is revealed, but that doesn't steal any thunder from the unsettling and utterly original denouement.

  • The Scotsman "Beautifully written...brimming with quirky characters and original storytelling. Kate Atkinson has struck gold with this unique offering"
  • Daily Telegraph "The lustre, energy and panache of her writing are as striking as ever...Funny, bold and memorable"
  • Daily Express "Her novels are remarkable both in and of themselves, and as evidence of an important emerging body of work from a brilliant and profoundly original writer"
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Emotionally Weird
Kate Atkinson
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