Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson was published in 2000. The setting is Dundee, where Atkinson went to university and it’s a series of tales told by various characters. This is a style that the author seems to favour and I can’t say that it’s one that I’m crazy about.
The main story is told by Effie, a student of literature. But her mother Nora also tells her family story and various other students are writing books which feature too, although thankfully never for very long. In fact Nora even reviews the main book, complaining of too many characters and such, so Atkinson is well aware that critics will complain of the flaws in the book. But I suppose she doesn’t see them as flaws.
It’s definitely curate’s egg-ish, meaning of course that the book is good in parts, however, the bits that are good are really very good, in my opinion anyway. It’s very funny in parts.
Here, Dundee’s English Literature department in the early 1970s is depicted as peopled by crazy characters – students and staff, headed by Professor Cousins who isn’t really in the real world at all and takes any chance to have word games. The professor is sure someone is trying to kill him and Effie is sure she is being followed.
Effie’s boyfriend Bob has hardly been to any lectures, he’s in danger of being chucked out of uni and Effie can’t think why she’s still with him.
Chick is a private detective ex-policeman who has fallen on hard times due to his divorce and Effie knows he reminds her of someone, but she can’t think who.
Dogs feature in the story, as they quite often do in Atkinson’s books and they provide some of the humour.
Kate Atkinson was born in the north of England but has lived in Scotland since her Dundee University days and now lives in Edinburgh. In this book she proves how well she has assimilated as she has a good Scots vocabulary and she uses it well.
I read this one for the Read Scotland 2016 Challenge.