Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

This is another one which I bought at the last library book sale. I just picked it up because it was by Kate Atkinson and it wasn’t until later that I realised that it is actually a collection of short stories.

Well I quite enjoy reading short stories, so that wasn’t a problem. They are all sort of loosely linked to each other, with the same characters turning up from time to time. I really enjoyed them.

The book was published in 2002.

The Times review of it said: ‘One of the most fluent and inventive writers around … Atkinson’s prose is always rich, satisfying and self assured, and always surprising. She has such a remarkable way with words that you turn to them again and again.’

The Scotsman said: ‘One of the country’s most innovative, exciting and intelligent writers.’

Although I’ve read and enjoyed a few of her books now and some have been set in Scotland, I don’t think that it had dawned on me that she is actually categorized as a Scottish writer.

Although Atkinson was born in York, she now lives in Edinburgh.

This book has plenty of Scottish words in it. It seems that Kate went to Uni at Dundee and like many others before her, decided to stay on in Scotland. She seems to have revelled in Scottish culture because to me, this book reads as being by a completely Scottish writer.

I don’t know why, but I still get a bit of a thrill when I recognise a place in a book as somewhere that I have been. (Very sad and pathetic, I know.) So I really liked it when the characters in one of the stories take a trip to Deep Sea World at North Queensferry, just at the Forth Bridge. That was a favourite destination for our boys when they were wee.

I had a real feeling of deja vu at one point as the eleventh story starts with the mother taking her son to university for the first time. Although it isn’t named, it is obviously Stirling University, which is well known for the abundance of wildlife around the campus and I don’t mean the student variety. Ducks, geese, squirrels, rabbits and oyster catchers nesting and popping up all over the place.

Laura did her degree there and we lost count of the amount of times that we moved her in and out of the halls of residence. It made me feel quite nostalgic.

Anyway, Not the End of the World is definitely worth reading, even if you don’t frequent east and central Scotland.