Megan Harlan
July 12, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Emotionally Weird

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Kate Atkinson
publisher
Picador USA
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

In Emotionally Weird, a sprawling Scottish island summer home serves as the backdrop against which a mother and daughter swap stories: Dundee University student Effie describes problems with professors and her stoner boyfriend while her mother, Nora, airs gothic family tales that eventually reveal Effie’s true paternity.

By using a medley of typestyles and fonts, Atkinson (”Behind the Scenes at the Museum”) allows these highly unreliable narrators to interrupt each other with corrections and digressions — a tricky structure that actually works, thanks to the meticulously constructed narrative. Ultimately, ”Emotionally Weird” proves a sparkling comic meditation on how authors choose to tell their stories.

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