When Will There Be Good News – Kate Atkinson – 9/10

Good News Summary: Joanna is the only survivor of an appalling crime as a small child. Thirty years later, the perpetrator is out of prison and she disappears. Motherless prodigy Reggie is her nanny and seems to be the only one concerned that she has vanished.

This is absolutely harrowing in the relentlessness of bad news (the title turns out to be very appropriate) but exquisitely written. The mix of characters is almost unbelievable, and yet they slot together into the machinery of the novel’s plot seamlessly. Reggie and Joanna are beautifully written – both pretty disturbed, but trying to make the best of a bad world.

I loved the portrayal of Edinburgh, with its dark streets and contrast between its affluent and impoverished areas. The extraneous components scattered into the plot (for example, the Bangladeshi corner shop owner and his family) add depth and weight to the scene-setting.

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