Transcription by Kate Atkinson


In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is u...

Details Transcription

Release DateSep 25th, 2018
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, War, World War II, Audiobook

Reviews Transcription

  • Liz
    It’s funny how some books can immediately grab hold of you and cast you under their spell. This is that sort of book. The book immediately transports you back to London in the 1940s and 50s. The language is just spot on perfect. The story revolves around a young woman who is drafted to transcribe conversations among a group of fascists that have been infiltrated by MI5. Juliet is only 18 and before she knows it, has been drafted for some spying...
  • Marialyce
    2 oh my disappointing stars.I do like Atkinson's novels so when this one popped up, I was anxious to begin turning pages. Unfortunately the anticipation for this novel went south as I become bogged down in a uneven plot, and the flipping of time elements. This is a book I should have loved. It had everything, World War 2, a strong intelligent woman, espionage, London, all the things that make for a poignant novel. So, what went wrong?For me, I ju...
  • Jaline
    As this novel opens, it is 1981, Juliet Armstrong is 60 years old, and while she was distracted by her thoughts, she was struck by a car when she attempted to cross the street. Her story comes through in a series of jumps between 1940 and 1950 before landing back in 1981 again.In 1940 at the tender age of 18, Juliet is recruited by MI5 to work on transcribing taped conversations between one of MI5’s agents disguised as a subversive and several ...
  • Paromjit
    Great historical fiction in the world of British espionage in WW2 and the repercussions that emerge in the 1950s. Touches on issues of class in spying circles, being gay, the monitoring of fascists, a young Juliet, recruited to engage in the process of transcription that develops into so much more. Then some time after the war, Juliet is now a BBC radio producer and sees a familiar face that refuses to acknowledge her leading to the entry of a ho...
  • Trish
    Not all of Kate Atkinson’s novels have been what she calls historical fiction, but the last several have been. This novel may hew closest to the truth, though like she says in the Author’s Note at the end, she wrenched open history and stuffed it with imaginative reconstruction, at least one fantasy for each fact. The author tells us afterward what her intentions were: we have questions—that’s inevitable—and instead of farming out possi...
  • Amalia Gavea
    ''In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.'' Winston Churchill 1950. Juliet is a BBC producer, responsible for the children's zone. Intelligent, energetic and a talented writer, she tries to make History interesting for the young ones. She should know, for her relationship to the Lady with the Book that chronicles the course of the human race has been extremely turbulent. If we travel back in tim...
  • ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ✺❂❤❣
    Juliet is adorably clueless. The spy-guys stuffy and charadesque. All of them: So. Very. British. (Or it could be just me stereotyping the world, if so, then I'm sorry!)The humour appropriately dry. The atmosphere noirish, just a bit, to add in enough grit and some patina of time that feels to have passed between the reader and the plotline origins.Just what I love to read occasionally. PS. Mangling Russian dishes didn't improve the novel. By 'Ve...
  • Trudie
    *2.5*I am having a really bad historical fiction year (looking at you Washington Black). So I was absolutely convinced that dropping all my reading commitments to immediately pick up Kate Atkinson's new WWII spy novel would help raise my spirits. Her previous books Life after Life and A God in Ruins are favourites of mine. I trust her to a deliver a distinct kind of uber- British novel, complete with her rather sardonic humour and droll observat...
  • Debra
    Juliet Armstrong is only eighteen years old when she is recruited by the M15 in 1940. She is tasked with transcribing the conversations of British fascists sympathizers during WWII. Before long, she is given more duties such as working as a spy herself and watching a dog which is being held for a sort of ransom. Ten years later she finds herself working for the BBC as a radio producer. She appears to have moved on with her life until those from h...
  • Tammy
    “May I tempt you?” This question is the impetus which shifts a very young woman from a job merely transcribing traitorous conversations deliberately overheard during WWII in London into a bonafide spy. Working at the BBC ten years, later her misdeeds of the past come back to haunt her. For a novel about espionage, I found the characters to be rather dull and the plot lacking in tension.
  • Sue
    Atkinson is one of my favorite authors and, with Transcription, she has moved her star even higher. The tale is set in England, primarily London, in 1940, 1950 and 1981. The pivotal events occur in 1940, when Juliet Armstrong at 18, is recruited for the war effort. But not for any battle-related job, no. She is to file and type. Soon she is recruited further as a transcriptionist for an MI5 developed cause, to reel in and control English Fifth Co...
  • Violet wells
    Just what I needed! I've struggled with various very long and overwrought novels of late. Transcription on the other hand is breezy and wry and thoroughly entertaining. A light hearted romp through the world of espionage in London during world war two. I had a sense of déjà vu through much of the novel, as if I had seen a documentary about the events Atkinson was writing about- essentially a secret service operation set up in a flat eavesdroppi...
  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    PLease see full review on my blog.I wasn't a fan of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and was hesitant to try this, but after seeing the praises I couldn't resist the temptation of asking the publisher for a copy.This is a book that will take you to 40's and 50's, it's quintessentially British in all levels. I haven't read a more satirical, sharp, enjoyable book that takes place in WW2 so far. This piece of history is clearly something Atkinson exc...
  • Phrynne
    It is always a pleasure to open a new book by Kate Atkinson. I know I am going to find something well written, totally absorbing and above all original. How she does it I do not know.In Transcription she takes us to 1940 World War 2 London, where we meet Juliet, an eighteen year old girl who has just been recruited by MI5. There is a lot more to this Juliet than meets the eye and she continued to surprise me right through to the end of the book.A...
  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    EXCERPT: 'Are you . . . intact, Miss Armstrong?''Intact?' She had to think for a moment what he meant by that. (She thought of the Latin. Untouched.) 'Oh,' she said eventually. 'Yes, sir.' She blushed all over again, dreadfully hot suddenly, despite the weather. It wasn't a question you asked if you weren't intending to do something about it, was it? Although in her imagination this act had involved dim lighting, satin sheets, perhaps flutes of c...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    3.5~4★“Charles had ‘trod the boards’ until his leg was blown off in the Café de Paris bomb in ’41 and he could tread no more. Now he had an artificial leg that you could never mistake for a real one. It made people kind to him, although there was no real reason why they should be as he was the waspish sort and it was doubtful that losing a leg had improved him.”1950. This is a classic Kate Atkinson description, accurate and sarcastic...
  • Peter Boyle
    Oh I had high hopes for this one. A Kate Atkinson spy novel set during World War II sounded like a winning formula to me. Indeed, the reviews of Transcription have been full of praise. But I reckon it is one of her lesser works, not reaching the heights of Life After Life or the majestic A God in Ruins.In 1941, Juliet Stephenson is 18 years old, naive and unsophisticated. Everything changes when she is recruited by MI5. Her new job consists of li...
  • Diane Barnes
    In not a big fan of spy novels, just not my genre, so maybe that was my problem with this book. I really expected to be blown away because, after all, it IS Kate Atkinson, but I never really connected with the main character, or any other character. I truly didn't care what happened to them, and it felt like only half my brain was engaged while reading. Having said that, there were some surprising twists and turns at the end, but, again, I just d...
  • Faith
    This book is a wonderful mix of spies, counterspies, life in wartime London and the inner workings of the BBC. It's written from the point of view of Juliet Armstong, an intelligent young woman who was recruited by the British Security Service when she was 18. After a while her chief task became the transcribing of secretly-taped conversations between an MI5 agent (posing as a member of the Gestapo) and some English Fifth Columnists who were eage...
  • Canadian
    Espionage would probably not make my top ten list of things to read about, or even my top 100 list for that matter, so I approached Transcription with a certain wariness. The fact that it is authored by Kate Atkinson was probably the only thing that motivated me to read it in the first place.The novel opens in 1981, “the year of a royal wedding,” with 60-year-old Juliet Armstrong falling down on a London street. Preoccupied with thoughts of h...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    If you've only read a couple of Kate Atkinson novels, you may think she does just one thing. She doesn't. In fact, I tend to get a little miffed when she sticks with one thing for too long because I want to see her stretch out in every direction. When I started TRANSCRIPTION and realized we were back in WWII (major setting of her last two novels) I thought, "Nooooooooo not again," but I couldn't have been more wrong. This isn't a follow-up to LIF...
  • Dianne
    I loved this World War II British espionage thriller! In 1940, Juliet Armstrong is recruited by MI5 to transcribe recorded meetings between undercover MI5 agents and traitorous British citizens who are secretly spying for Germany. England is on the brink of war as Hitler’s forces consume Europe. Juliet is eventually drawn into active spy duty, playing a role as a young German sympathizer working in the War Office. Her job is to infiltrate the R...
  • Cathrine ☯️
    Uugh, I haven't felt so tortured and bored by by book since I tried to read Hausfrau.9731 ratings and 4113 are 3 stars or less. Halfway through I had to look through them for some closure and encouragement to let this one go. My day is about to get better.
  • Kathleen
    Who knew that spycraft could be so boring? Atkinson’s historical fiction novel is based on a composite of actual double-agents that worked for MI5 during WWII to uncover Third Reich devotees. Eighteen-year-old Juliet takes a job of transcribing conversations that are being recorded from bugs in the next room. Atkinson feels compelled to provide the reader with typical disjointed conversations—bugs in the 1940s were not able to pick up as much...
  • Renata
    I was immediate swept away listening to this book on audio. Kate Atkinson’s writing transports me into another world and I have the utmost respect and admiration for her as a writer. Transcription has a narrower focus than many of her novels but weaves together so many themes. It also had some of her funniest lines and I often found myself laughing aloud (not something one generally experiences while reading a book set during war time) Juliet ...
  • Cindy Burnett
    4.5 starsKate Atkinson's new novel, Transcription, follows Juliet Armstrong as she works in an obscure MI-5 department during World War 2 that monitors and records the activities of a pro-German group. While the work is initially boring and monotonous, an event occurs that drastically alters the department's work and Juliet's job. Fast forward a decade later, and Juliet is now working for a BBC radio station believing that her past is long behind...
  • Liz Barnsley
    I am a huge fan of Kate Atkinson’s wonderful storytelling and for me Transcription was a pure joy from the moment I started it until the moment I reluctantly set it aside.The writing is genuinely superb, beautifully done and I adored Juliet, her manner, her acerbic inner dialogue and her highly intriguing yet strangely genteel existence.The setting and the time brought to utterly vivid life, we follow Juliet as she becomes part of the war effor...
  • Patricia
    I had trouble enjoying TRANSCRIPTION as I found it to be a bit tedious. The pace picks up a bit toward the end, but it was a bit too late for me. The story is about an 18 year old female recruited into M15 in 1940 to transcribe recording of English people who are German sympathizers. Perhaps this would be best enjoyed by lovers of spies.
  • Lisa
    [2.6] Most of this novel is analogous to Juliet's transcription work for M15 - dull and monotonous with brief moments of action. Most of the action came in the last 50 pages of the novel and I was so grateful for relief of the tedium that I am rounding up to 3 stars.