Emotionally weird | Kate Atkinson

The cringe-making title and the curious subtitle ‘A comic novel’ made me wary of this book before I even started it. If I was Kate Atkinson’s editor I’d have urged her to change them both.

The book is an elaborate post-modern joke, rather than comedy lols – texts within texts, signfiers and signifieds all over the place, that sort of thing – so a bit of beard-stroking pleasure for the lit-crit savvy. Normally I’m quite partial to a bit of this (and indeed to Ms Atkinson, on the whole) but the increasingly peculiar kaleidoscope of macabre and implausible narratives became a bit too relentless, and I found myself occasionally longing for a normal character. I guess the clue was in the title.