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Emotionally Weird: A Novel by [Kate Atkinson]

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Emotionally Weird: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 288 ratings

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Length: 370 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Readers who survive the first 20 pages of this dense and playful novel, with its three different openings, constant jokes, and crowded cast of characters, will find themselves rewarded with a leisurely postmodern romp through the student ferment and bodily indulgences of the early 1970s. Although the publisher has called Emotionally Weird a comic novel, it is essentially unclassifiable, both further-reaching and less "meaningful" than it first appears. Kate Atkinson's book begins with chapter 1 of a bad murder mystery being written by Effie Andrews for a creative-writing course at the University of Dundee in 1972. But the action soon shifts to a wintry island in the Hebrides, where Effie is trying to elicit the story of her parentage from her single mother, Nora, while spinning a humorous first-person narrative of her college life. Only near the end of the book does she finally wrench the story from her mother: Effie's bizarre origins; the identity of her father; and the whole unlikely tale of her mother's family.

Like a Borgesian labyrinth, with other stories thrown in, including a laughably convenient introduction of magic realism, it is impossible to know what to take seriously--or "jocoseriously," to paraphrase another of Atkinson's influences: the Joyce of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. In her third novel, much of Atkinson's humor is incidental, even parenthetical. (We are told in passing, for example, that Effie's dissertation is called "Henry James: Man or Maze?") She is at her best when introducing her eccentric characters, such as the elderly Professor Cousins, who is sometimes lucid, sometimes not. "As with anyone in the department," Effie explains, "it wasn't always easy to distinguish between the two states. The university's strict laws of tenure dictated that he had to be dead at least three months before he could be removed from behind his desk." Professor Cousins, like the author, enjoys word games along the order of those in Alice in Wonderland, and Atkinson's use of Scottish idiom comes to function as a sort of word game. She also brings in a few killjoys (a militant feminist, a militant Christian, a literary theorist) to complicate an already loopy narrative and to spike the punch.

Janice smelt of piety and coal tar soap. She had recently become a Christian, a neophyte of a student Christian fellowship whose members roamed the corridors of Airlie, Belmont and Chalmers Halls looking for likely converts (the afraid, the alone, the abandoned) and those who needed to use the Bible to fill in the spaces where their personalities should have been.
As Emotionally Weird develops, Atkinson relies more and more on the postmodern gag of characters commenting on the unfolding action. There is no telling how she finally draws these disparate threads onto a single spool, but in the end, even the slightest subplots are neatly tied up and the most transient characters accounted for. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

From the Back Cover

“Beautifully written…brimming with quirky characters and original storytelling.... Kate Atkinson has struck gold with this unique offering.” – Time Out

“Sends jolts of pleasure off the page… Atkinson’s funniest foray yet… a work of Dickensian or even Shakespearean plenty.”
The Scotsman

“Funny, bold and memorable.” – The Times --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • Publication date : March 29, 2013
  • File size : 803 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 370 pages
  • Publisher : Picador; 1st edition (March 29, 2013)
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B00BFQ7BXW
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.7 out of 5 stars 288 ratings

Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5
288 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 24, 2015
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7 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2013
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14 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2015
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8 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 4, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

tpryan
1.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally Weird isn't the half of it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 1, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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I. Eastgate
2.0 out of 5 stars Fan of the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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D. M. Dickson
4.0 out of 5 stars Did I like it - hmmmm
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 5, 2014
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6 people found this helpful
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Teach
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely weird and totally brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2018
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2 people found this helpful
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tigprincess
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever writing if a bit weird
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2013
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4 people found this helpful
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