Not the End of the World

Not the End of the World

Paperback

By (author) Kate Atkinson

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  • Publisher: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 28mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 29 September 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0552771058
  • ISBN 13: 9780552771054
  • Sales rank: 58,402

Product description

What is the real world? Does it exist, or is it merely a means of keeping another reality at bay? Not the End of the World is Kate Atkinson's first collection of short stories. Playful and profound, they explore the world we think we know whilst offering a vision of another world which lurks just beneath the surface of our consciousness, a world where the myths we have banished from our lives are startlingly present and where imagination has the power to transform reality. From Charlene and Trudi, obsessively making lists while bombs explode softly in the streets outside, to gormless Eddie, maniacal cataloguer of fish, and Meredith Zane who may just have discovered the secret to eternal life, each of these stories shows that when the worlds of material existence and imagination collide, anything is possible.

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Author information

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has been a critically acclaimed international author ever since. Her bestselling novels featuring the former police detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog, have been adapted into a successful BBC TV series starring Jason Isaacs. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Review quote

"Exceptional...Sharp, witty and completely compelling" Daily Mail "I can think of few writers who can make the ordinary collide with the extraordinary to such beguiling effect...left me so fizzing with admiration" Observer "An exceptionally funny, quirky and bold writer" Independent on Sunday "Moving and funny, and crammed with incidental wisdom" Sunday Times "Inventive and moving, these are truly tales for the new millennium" Good Book Guide

Editorial reviews

Kate Atkinson's first collection of short stories is as fascinating as one would expect from the author of the award-winning Behind the Scenes of the Museum. Inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses, Atkinson has written 12 linked stories, their style varying from witty and malicious to melancholic. Quoting Ovid, she promises the reader that she will tell us tales of transformation and this she proceeds to do. A nanny sprouts wings and, like a Mary Poppins in reverse, carries her neglected charge away to happiness. A geeky child obsessed with cataloguing fish turns out to have been born of a union between his bikini-clad mother and the god of an underwater kingdom, a 'colossal roaring presence'. Myths provide the backdrops but Atkinson breathes into them a mint-new meaning, giving her own interpretation of the way we live now. She has something to say about consumerism, the way we are in thrall to soap opera and our pathetic worship of media stars, but she reserves her heavy ammunition for an attack on those who fail to love. In a brilliantly funny story she portrays family life and the dwindling show of affection between teenage children and their mother. Her ear for desultory, sometimes vicious family dialogue is uncanny. Later in the book she picks up the same characters and depicts them all a little older, a little more sad and lonely. Earnest, good mothers, she seems to be saying, deserve so much more than this. Her theme is frequently love: being in love, seeking, finding and sometimes losing the loved one, but fantasy is never far from the surface. From the very first story, 'Charlene and Trudi Go Shopping', the reader begins to see a transformed, skewed world. The two girls imagine themselves in Pleasureland and dreamily recite to each other a litany of enticing goodies that they might buy, while all the time the zoo animals roam free outside and museums are ransacked. Inventive, engaging and often very moving, these are truly tales for the new millennium. (Kirkus UK)

Flap copy

A stunning collection of thoughtful and highly readable short stories by Whitbread Award-winner, Kate Atkinson. What is the real world? Does it exist, or is it merely a means of keeping another reality at bay? Not the End of the World is Kate Atkinson's first collection of short stories. Playful and profound, they explore the world we think we know while offering a vision of another world which lurks just beneath the surface of our consciousness, a world where the myths we have banished from our lives are startlingly present and where imagination has the power to transform reality. From Charlene and Trudi, obsessively making lists while bombs explode softly in the streets outside, to gormless Eddie, maniacal cataloguer of fish, and Meredith Zane who may just have discovered the secret to eternal life, each of these stories posits a skewed reality glimpsed out of the corner of an eye. When the worlds of material existence and imagination collide, anything is possible. Vibrantly contemporary, plausibly implausible, refreshingly original, Not the End of the World is a timely meditation on mythology and transformation, and demonstrates Kate Atkinson to be one of the most inventive and entertaining of modern writers.