Normal Rules Don’t Apply by Kate Atkinson #review

Book cover of Normal Rules Don't Apply by  Kate Atkinson

Title: Normal Rules Don’t Apply
Kate Atkinson
Publisher: Transworld


In this brilliant volume, nothing is quite as it seems. We meet a queen who makes a bargain she cannot keep; a secretary who watches over the life she has just left; a lost man who bets on a horse that may–or may not–have spoken to him. Everything that readers love about the novels of Kate Atkinson is here–the inventiveness, the verbal felicity, the sharp observations on human nature, and the deeply satisfying emotional wallop.

Witty and wise, with subtle connections between the stories, Normal Rules Don’t Apply is a startling and funny feast for the imagination, stories with the depth and bite to create their own fully-formed worlds.

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My review:

Normal Rules Don’t Apply is a collection of skilfully-written (well, who would expect anything less from Kate Atkinson?) short stories. I don’t generally read a huge amount of short stories but I would read far more if they were all like this: captivating and intriguing!

Many of the stories are cleverly connected, with people and occasions from one popping up in others, as I took a little while to realise, and which delighted me. I think these interconnected threads added an extra sense of satisfaction can sometimes be sometimes missing in other short story collections.

There’s a great range of plots and styles here, from the opening story The Void, which takes us to the near future with apocalyptic results, to Blithe Spirit, where we watch Mandy, who is dead and watching her own autopsy – plus many more. There’s weirdness, happiness, humour, mysticism and much more, all brilliantly written. Some I liked slightly more than others, as I’d expect with a collection of stories, but each had its own flair for the reader to enjoy.

Normal Rules Don’t Apply is an incredibly strong, enjoyable collection with memorable characters. I’m a huge fan of Kate Atkinson’s novels anyway, but now I want to go back and read all of her short story collections too. Highly recommended.

My rating: 4.5/5

Many thanks to Transworld for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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