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Monday, July 22, 2013

Obsessed with Jackson Brodie

I've been on vacation for the last month. Actually I've been on vacation with Jackson Brodie the last month. Forget my family trip to the beach and my dear friends I see annually at Montreat; I've been in England and Scotland with Jackson Brodie, the "hero" in Kate Atkinson's "detective" novels. As you read in my last post, I discovered Kate Atkinson in her latest book, Life After Life. That award-winning novel was part romance, part historical fiction, part mystery and prompted me to find Atkinson's earlier books and devour them! I think many others have had the same urge -- I visited one of my favorite bookstores, Sun Dog Books, in Seaside, Florida and most of her books were sold out. I did manage to find Case Histories and One Good Turn which started my affair with Jackson Brodie, the brooding, imperfect star of the four books Atkinson has published since 2004.

I think I fell in love with Brodie when I learned of his taste in music -- Lucinda Williams, Nancy Griffith, Iris Dement -- all my favorite melancholy country/folk singers. Brodie's a type of anti-hero, with many faults and negative feelings, but he always manages to do the right thing, in spite of himself.  He's a tough, brooding guy on the outside, with a tender heart on the inside. I'm currently on my last of Aktinson's four Brodie novels, Started Early, Took My Dog, and I'm going to be bereft when I finish this book.  But researching my man Brodie for this post, I discovered there is a BBC series based on the novels. The only thing is I don't really want to see a flesh and blood Brodie, I prefer the man in my imagination. Atkinson cleverly gives no physical descriptions of her characters, she prefers to describe them by characteristics. Her characters come to vivid life without physical descriptions. Atkinson is a clever writer using plot twists and turns and humor to create an unforgettable story. You can bet that I will stay on vacation with Jackson Brodie as long as I can!