Verbatim reporting

11 05 2019

Transcription by Kate Atkinson


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.


It’s a great idea for a novel and Atkinson evokes the wartime home front and the post-war era extremely well. The plot is a smart one too and the tedium and detail of Juliet’s transcription work cleverly represented. Kate Atkinson writes exceptionally well and her books are always a pleasure to read. This one through doesn’t quite fly in the way some of her others have but still well worth a go.


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