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Hilary Mantel, 4 April 1996

Behind the Scenes at the Museum 
by Kate Atkinson.
Black Swan, 382 pp., £6.99, January 1996, 0 552 99618 1
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... On the day after Kate Atkinson’s first novel won the Whitbread Prize, the Guardian’s headline read: ‘Rushdie makes it a losing double.’ Thus Rushdie is reminded of his disappointments, Atkinson gets no credit, and the uninformed reader assumes that this year’s Whitbread is a damp squib ...

Darkness and so on and on

Adam Mars-Jones: Kate Atkinson, 6 June 2013

Life after Life 
by Kate Atkinson.
Doubleday, 477 pp., £18.99, March 2013, 978 0 385 61867 0
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... Kate Atkinson is in no danger of prosecution for misrepresenting goods. Life after Life does exactly what it says on the spine of the book, offering a number of versions of the life of Ursula Todd, born in 1910. These lives aren’t exactly alternatives: it’s unclear what happens to the (very slightly) variant worlds when she dies in them, but then how would this information be conveyed? It’s a religious problem more than one of narrative technique ...

Little Grey Cells

J. Robert Lennon: More Marple than Poirot, 5 March 2020

Big Sky 
by Kate Atkinson.
Black Swan, 356 pp., £8.99, January, 978 0 552 77666 0
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... KateAtkinson’s 12th book, her fifth starring the detective Jackson Brodie, opens with our hero making some kind of escape with a young bride. She tosses her veil and bouquet onto the back seat of Brodie’s car, and they ride off into the sunset. Brodie glances at his companion: ‘He noticed she was cupping the bowl of her belly, where she was incubating an as yet invisible baby ...

Lost Daughters

Tessa Hadley: Kate Atkinson’s latest, 23 September 2004

Case Histories: A Novel 
by Kate Atkinson.
Doubleday, 304 pp., £16.99, September 2004, 0 385 60799 7
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... The world of Kate Atkinson’s novels is distinctive. This isn’t because it’s confined to a particular place (Behind the Scenes at the Museum, 1995, her first novel, was set in York, her others in ‘Arden’, Dundee and Cambridge), although geography is important, and she is precise about history, socio-economics, climate, architecture and even street-plans ...

Bringers of Ill Luck and Bad Weather

Penelope Fitzgerald: Anne Enright, 2 March 2000

What Are You Like 
by Anne Enright.
Cape, 257 pp., £10, March 2000, 0 224 06063 5
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... writer and can be dazzlingly funny, she belongs to the present century and the company of, say, Kate Atkinson. For Enright the recognisable dimensions of time, speech and thought (though not place) are fluid and interchangeable, while metaphors often become the things they stand for. At the same time she can’t, and perhaps doesn’t want to get away ...

I scribble, you write

Tessa Hadley: Women Reading, 26 September 2013

The Woman Reader 
by Belinda Jack.
Yale, 330 pp., £9.99, August 2013, 978 0 300 19720 4
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Curious Subjects 
by Hilary Schor.
Oxford, 271 pp., £41.99, January 2013, 978 0 19 992809 5
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... So how is it that we can still sympathise with them? Instead of scheming to acquire a fortune, Kate Croy could train as a doctor or campaign for women’s suffrage – but that wouldn’t make sense in James’s novel. His women have their life, rather, in the realm of high performance, and fine art: the writer is holding open, against all the pressures of ...

A Knife to the Heart

Susan Pedersen: Did the Suffragettes succeed?, 30 August 2018

Rise Up, Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes 
by Diane Atkinson.
Bloomsbury, 670 pp., £30, February 2018, 978 1 4088 4404 5
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Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote 
by Jane Robinson.
Doubleday, 374 pp., £20, January 2018, 978 0 85752 391 4
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... not Words’: it is the members of this group who form the collective subject of Diane Atkinson’s six-hundred-plus-page encomium. But the suffragettes’ vitality and theatricality galvanised the older ‘constitutionalist’ or ‘suffragist’ National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and other non-militant groups, enabling Jane ...

Cunt Art

Jo Applin: Ten Rounds with Judy Chicago, 9 June 2022

The Flowering: The Autobiography of Judy Chicago 
by Judy Chicago.
Thames and Hudson, 416 pp., £30, July 2021, 978 0 500 09438 9
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... fight, each unkind word, each disagreement was for the best. When the feminist writer Ti-Grace Atkinson flew to LA to visit Womanhouse she was greeted at the airport by four students from the programme dressed as cheerleaders, all in pink, the letters across their chests spelling ‘C-U-N-T’. As the passengers disembarked, they began a loud chant ...

At the Royal Academy

Peter Campbell: How to Draw Horses, 9 October 2003

... when it came to making a living. It could also push a painter into becoming a bored specialist. If Atkinson Grimshaw hadn’t found that it was the moonlight scenes over water which sold best, he surely wouldn’t have stuck to them – there are 14 of them here. Sargent got bored with portraits, but had made enough money to free himself of the burden of ...

On Teesside

Joanna Biggs, 21 October 2010

... all over Europe to see exhibitions about the Bauhaus, the potter Lucy Rie and Gerhard Richter. Kate Brindley, the gallery’s director, boasted of a grant they’d won to build up a collection of postwar American drawings: ‘Middlesbrough will have drawings of a quality not yet in any other collection in the UK, not even Tate,’ she told me in her ...

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