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The magnificent new novel by the bestselling and award-winning Kate Atkinson, a major publishing event.

‘Think of it as an adventure, Perry had said right at the beginning of all this.And it had seemed like one. A bit of a lark, she had thought. A Girls’ Own adventure.’
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of this country’s best writers.

Reviews

Transcription stands alongside its immediate predecessors as a fine example of Kate Atkinson's mature work, an unapologetic novel of ideas which is also wise, funny and paced like a thriller.

Stephanie Merritt, Observer

Kate Atkinson is a wonderful writer. I want to write like her when I grow up. Transcription shows she's at the peak of her powers. Full of beautiful, delicate, sharp sentences and characterisations. A spy novel that dismantles the whole genre. A class act, as ever.

Matt Haig

Never loses its sense of absurdity of human beings even in their most tragic or noble moments...How vehemently most novelists will wish to produce a masterpiece as good.

Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

Atkinson handles her mazy, Le Carre-style plot with complete authority. But there’s a lot more to the novel than its page-turning thrills. The increasingly sceptical Juliet makes for a very appealing heroine and the darker material is interspersed with some neat comedy. Above all, Atkinson recreates the atmosphere of both wartime and post-war London with utter conviction.

James Walton, Reader's Digest

On a graph plotting the literary qualities versus saleability of contemporary British novelists, Kate Atkinson would surely occupy the highest point where the two meet...There are plenty of twists and turns in this terrific page-turner, some shocking moments, and a narrator whom the author encourages us to love.

Claire Harman, Evening Standard

I loved Kate Atkinson's Transcription - you don't know if it's farce about spies, or a spy story about farce.

Hanya Yanagihara

A new Kate Atkinson novel is always a reason to rejoice and Transcription was everything I was hoping for and more…The truly surprising denouement makes for one of the best conclusions of a novel I’ve ever read.I immediately wanted to read it all over again.

Red

A treat - cerebral and suspenseful, playful and empathetic.

Mail on Sunday

A triumph...inventive, atmospheric and witty.

Good Housekeeping

[A] superb story of wartime espionage...Hilary Mantel once said of Atkinson's ground-breaking first novel that she had a "game-plan more sophisticated than Dickens", and that skill is more than evident in this latest offering...remarkable...Transcription is a fine course in the art of deception. The sheer bravura of Atkinson's storytelling is such that you will find it impossible not to want to revisit those clues so cleverly placed, as you shake your head in disbelief at how effortlessly you have been taken in.

Gerri Kimber, Times Literary Supplement

Full of intrigue...sublimely suspenseful - droll,devious and deadly, beautifully serious.

Sunday Express

In Transcription, Kate Atkinson recasts the bildungsroman within the fertile genre of the spy thriller… …As the plot of this accomplished novel hurtles towards its astonishing denouement, even the canniest reader may feel wrong-footed.

Pamela Norris, Literary Review

Kate Atkinson’s fluid identity as a novelist has long marked her out as one of Britain’s most interesting – and often underrated – writers…the playful always stands shoulder to shoulder with the painful, the grandiose with the grubby…Atkinson’s depiction of espionage and counter-espionage on the Home Front is nimble and convincing…But there is an immensely serious book here too, waiting in the wings to reveal itself on the very last pages; a book that asks us to question the entertainment we’ve just gobbled up, and to reckon with what lies beneath it.

Alex Clark, New Statesman

This intricate and captivating novel is a treat. Our advice? Cancel your plans and get lost in its pages.

Heat

Superb...Transcription is the sort of book that reminds you how profound and satisfying and moving and exhilarating good fiction can be. It’s the best novel I’ve read all year. I can’t praise it enough.

Irish Times

Intricate, compelling, unpredictable…a gripping spy story …filled with the mystery, humour, and Britishness we have come to expect.

Stylist

Murky, mysterious and with double bluffs,divided loyalties and untrustworthy narratives aplenty, Atkinson explores the nature of truth in this vibrant piece of historical fiction.

Psychologies

Atkinson’s poker-faced narration perfectly serves a twisty tale of innocence lost amid a fog of geopolitical double-dealing, framed with a deadly tragedy.

Metro

This is a novel about identity in which no one and nothing is exactly as they seem - a spy novel, in short... Terms such as "postmodern" and "metafiction" seem far too heavy for novels as enjoyable as Atkinson's, but from Behind the Scenes onwards she has been chipping away at the fourth wall, and mischievously drawing attention to her craft. What elevates her fiction above mere playfulness is the emotional integrity of her characters... Atkinson always puts on a damn good show.

Lisa Allardice, Guardian

Glorious... beautiful and smart and everything you have ever loved about Kate Atkinson.

Joanna Cannon

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780857525895

    September 17, 2018

    Doubleday

    352 pages

    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Transcription
    Kate Atkinson

    Hardback

    9780857525888

    September 15, 2018

    Doubleday

    352 pages

    RRP $50.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781409043768

    September 6, 2018

    Transworld Digital

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Extract

1981

The Children’s Hour

‘Miss Armstrong? Miss Armstrong, can you hear me?’

She could, although she didn’t seem able to respond. She was badly damaged. Broken. She had been hit by a car. It might have been her own fault, she had been distracted – she had lived for so long abroad that she had probably looked the wrong way when she was crossing Wigmore Street in the midsummer twilight. Between the darkness and the daylight.

‘Miss Armstrong?’

A policeman? Or a paramedic. Someone official, someone who must have looked in her bag and found something with her name on it. She had been at a concert – Shostakovich. The string quartets, all fifteen parsed out in servings of three a day at the Wigmore Hall. It was Wednesday – the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth. She supposed she would miss the rest of them now.

‘Miss Armstrong?’

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