Scenes Of Gaiety

I picked up Kate Atkinson’s latest novel from the library last week, and read it today. Just as with her other work, it’s splendidly written with an emotional gut punch at the end – I should have realized going into it that there wouldn’t be happy endings (although perhaps not as miserable as the end of A God In Ruins…)
It’s set in Soho in the 1920s, and so there’s a lot of landmarks that still exist today, familiar to me from my time working in the area. There’s also reference to the Match King, Ivar Kreuger, who invented lots of shady off-balance sheet accounting in the 20th century while vertically integrating the market for matches, so it’s nice when a book I read a decade ago or more crops up in something recent.

There’s policemen, a louche trying to be a novelist and failing, a murderer in fancy dress who’s not ever really properly explained, and a series of nasty policemen that make it feel like a companion piece to One Night In Soho, but almost half a century earlier. Whether I should have spent the day reading almost 400 pages of gloominess is another question. I think it improved me, maybe.

We got up early this morning to get doughnuts from Flour Box, the Instagram celebrity of Seattle doughnuts. However, we queued for an hour in the rain without success, then had to abort our mission in order to get the girls to their swimming lesson instead. I compensated by getting them maple bars from Top Pot, then slept some of the afternoon while the rain came down. So I guess that’s a good Saturday.

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