Human Croquet: A Novel

by Kate Atkinson | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0312186886 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 4/25/2017
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I found this slightly-battered softcover (different cover than shown) at a local Savers thrift shop. I'd enjoyed Atkinson's Life After Life, and when I saw that this book also seems to feature a variety of time-warp (here, Shakespearian!) I had to give it a try.

Later: The novel includes features that seem to be favorites of the author's, including alternate timestreams, mystical overtones, and extended-family drama. Here, Isobel narrates her story as a near-immortal presence, viewing events from the distant past at a sacred grove to modern times and the family that, all unwitting, has settled near the spot where their ancestors first felled the trees and colonized the area. Modern-day Isobel has to cope with a mother who disappeared when the children were young, a father who's reappeared after a long absence of his own, with a brand-new wife, and with her deepening crush on a handsome neighbor - but as if that weren't enough, she begins to have flashbacks, literally finding herself at a different moment in time, from the earliest days of settlement to periods within the lifetimes of herself or her parents. Glimpses of the truth about her mother's disappearance alternate with different fates: reminiscent of Life After Life, Isobel gets to see how different actions of hers might change things, though she doesn't get to replay the same events over and over.

I enjoyed the interwoven, reset-and-try-again plotting, and while the revelations about Isobel's parents weren't all that surprising, I still found the story involving. And often very funny - Isobel has a naive/snarky attitude that's a lot of fun...

The book dances around the idea that there's fairy blood in Isobel, causing her time-shifts (and, in one instance, her ability to turn into a tree to evade a predatory man). As for the title, "human croquet" does crop up in the story, though only briefly - mostly as "we don't have enough guests to play it yet". But there's a section at the end of the book describing how it's done, in case you want to play it yourself some time!

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, N. Adams St. in Manchester, New Hampshire USA on Monday, January 29, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (1/29/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library, N. Adams St. in Manchester, New Hampshire USA


I left this in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

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