Transcription: Kate Atkinson

Follow Juliet Armstrong through the 1940s and 50s as she moves between several worlds and becomes caught up in the consequences of her actions when she was working for the MI5. 

‘Transcription’ covers so much more than simply her actions and those who surround her. Through transcribing the conversations she listens to, we get an insight into the secret operations during the war to deal with British Fascist sympathisers. We also see  how Juliet develops personally and professionally as she is drawn deeper into taking on different personas to both help the MI5 and to also cope with the consequences. We also see how gay men struggle through this time period and how only 10 years later Perry is more relaxed within his sexuality. 

During the 1950s, now working for the BBC, Juliet comes across characters from her past and has to relive and revisit those interactions. At certain points, the reader will doubt her grip on reality and her sanity as much as she does before it comes to an interesting climax. 

I couldn’t put the book down and finished it within a couple of days as I was engaged with Juliet as the main character from the start of the story in the 1980s right up until the end of the book in the 1980s. Although the other characters come and go, I found myself interested in their stories when they weren’t even on the page which shows how well those characters were developed and presented.

This is a book which fits into many genres and I’m so glad I picked it up for half price at WHSmith, St Pancras ahead of travelling to Paris by Eurostar.


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