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Not The End Of The World (2004)

Not the End of the World (2004)
3.71 of 5 Votes: 5
0316159379 (ISBN13: 9780316159371)
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Not The End Of The World (2004)
Not The End Of The World (2004)

About book: Critically acclaimed author Kate Atkinson uses a clever blend of witty, satirical characterizations and intriguing settings ranging from apocalyptic to only slightly unordinary in her captivating collection of short stories, Not the End of the World. Each of its twelve tales has a different focus, yet they are all intricately laced together in perhaps the most creative of ways; many stories feature returning characters playing minor roles, and Atkinson's subtle allusions to Greek mythology are present throughout. Not the End of the World enthralled me with its unique style and disregard for conventional setting, and left me pondering all the "what ifs" and "perhapses" of the modern world. As the title may suggest, a common theme throughout each story is optimism and seeing light in situations that are anything but. Rather ironically, the book begins and ends with the stories of Trudi and Charlene, two friends who are living through what quite literally seems to be the end of the world. In their particular situation, earthquakes, shootings, common people armed with machine guns and wild animals roaming the city have all become casualties that are quickly dismissed and of no large significance. As a closing to a bit of dialogue between the two, Atkinson writes, "Somewhere in the distance a bomb exploded softly." This is only one of the many instances she uses light, delicate descriptions of very serious or harsh events without euphemistic intent, which only further supports said optimistic theme. Other stories include angst-ridden teenagers of fractured families, a neglected young boy with a nanny who literally takes flight, adopted animals that undergo miraculous changes, and many others that serve as captivating culminations of both whimsical and realistic elements, allowing readers to both connect with and imagine the lives of the characters. While reading this book, I often found myself wondering if the title is directed to the situations of the characters, or to the readers. Is Atkinson suggesting to the readers that there is always a brighter side to look upon, and using her stories as prime examples of that? Is she trying to convey that someone always has it worse, or that even the people who do have it worse are willing to be positive? Regardless of the answers, I believe that any book capable of drawing questions such as these out of the reader is definitely worthy of admiration, and for this reason, along with the general appeal of the writing style and themes, I would recommend it in the future.

Kate Atkinson's Not The End Of The World collection of twelve short stories set in Scotland is nothing short of amusing and creative.��Kate Atkinson returns to her roots. Not The End Of The World is Atkinson first published short story collection. She originally started her writing journey with short stories before venturing into novels. Never short of creativity, wit and wisdom this specific collection is charming, whimsical and clever. The beauty knitted through these amusing and��judicious stories - mythology. Atkinson blends ancient mythology into modern day settings creating a wonderful touch to the story she is presenting.��Each story serves well as a standalone, however they are threaded together. The first story and the last story ��tie the complete collection together.��Not The End Of The World displays an ecclectic collection in narrative and characters. In the story Temporal Anomaly the protagonist is driving along the M9 in severe weather, thoughts adrift when Hades' chariot overtakes her. Another story tells of an Olympian father rejecting his son as thunderbolts echo in the sky. Further examples: a young girl revives a man bringing him back to life, leaving her bewildered and astonished. Immortality is the subject of another story.��Atkinson delivers a fabulous collection that is amusing, creative and spritly. Great for mythology buffs or newbie short story fans. Highly suggest Not The End Of The World.
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Laura Dugan
I might not have been in the right frame of mind when I read this... I love Atkinson. The way she winds her characters together is phenomenal. But I found this book confusing and was waiting for a "pop" at the end... that never came. I could be too literal, or, like I said, it could have just been my frame of mind. The connections were still good, but there was a lot of mythology and suspending belief and I don't do well with either unless I'm well prepared (like with Jasper Fforde's books). I'm still a fan of Atkinson, but much prefer the Case Histories/One Good Turn/When Will There Be Good News series.
Okay, I'm not a writer, but this book just seemed like some sort of practice exercise you would do for a class: Take all the random characters that have been bouncing around in your head but you haven't been able to work into a novel. Write them into some random scenes. Give a character from each short story a cameo in a following story. For further cohesiveness, make sure each story references Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and add a boring framing story at the beginning/end. That said, Kate Atkinson does characters well, especially some of the preteen kids, which is why this book is not 2 stars.
I assumed the stories would all be completely separate, so I was surprised to discover links between them. I loved experiencing a sense of recognition when minor characters from one story got their chance to shine in a later tale. I liked the way it tied the whole book together, as did the recurring themes of Greek mythology, death, the fictional soap Green Acres, Buffy, and the mysterious wolfkin. My favourite tales were probably Unseen Translation and The Cat Lover. I thought the first and last tales were out of place with the rest of the book, taking place as they did in an undefined apocolyptic world, but apparently those are set in the "real world" and the middle stories were told by Charlene and Trudi to distract each other from the end of the world. (Was I the only reader not to get this?)
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