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Transcription

Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Transcription by Kate Atkinson, read by Fenella Woolgar.

The magnificent new novel by best-selling award-winning Kate Atkinson.

‘Think of it as an adventure, Perry had said right at the beginning of all this.And it had seemed like one. A bit of a lark, she had thought. A Girls’ Own adventure.’

In 1940, 18-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 sympathisers, 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 for ever. 

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realise that there is no action without consequence.

Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of this country’s most exceptional writers.

©2018 Kate Atkinson (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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As you would expect

Another beautifully written book by Kate Atkinson with perfect narration. I am always sad when I come to the end of one of her books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Dull, tedious, boring...

I listened to five torturous hours of this book and gave up. Characters are boring, there is only a vague hint at a story that may or may not unfold. Endless dialogue of tea and cakes and typed transcripts about nothing...Life is too short for this drivel..Shame because I am a huge fan of Kate Atkinson's work but she has missed the mark with this one.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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promising but an unfulfilling

This book started promising but it was an unfulfilling story. There were no details, only at the very end we finally understand some things, there were many characters, many dogs, too many names and in the end when you got a bit more of an explanation I still didn't understand how that closed off the story....because it didn't. Disappointed in this book, I have read God in ruins and Life after life and loved them, not this one.

And where was her sentiment, there was no conveyance of her feelings and her life, really it was like a transcription with titbits of humour.

Don't bother with this one.

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  • Zoe
  • 31-01-2019

Not my thing

I listened to this book for book club. Not my kind of book, but it's was written well and performed well. I think if you like this type of genre then you would like it. I personally found it boring and predictable, but I usually do with this type of book.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Acerbic WWII spy novel

I love Kate Atkinson and when I started listening to this I thought ‘oh no, this is it, this is the one I won’t like’.

I was wrong. Once we go back to 1940 the main protagonist Juliette offers an acerbic point of view of her life as an MI5 agent during this time.

I imagine if reading the book, the transcribes could be a struggle to enjoy - but I could listen to Fenella Woolgar read the phone book - so listening to these sections with their ... and ‘inaudible’, was easy.

The book flits about a bit, but I enjoy that style of narrative. It’s like doing a puzzle and filling in the missing sections as and when you find the right pieces.

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  • Carol
  • Mid North Coast - NSW
  • 17-11-2018

Cup of tea anyone?

A quintessential British story beautifully read.

While never boring, parts of this book were quite slow. Loosley based on a true story, with fictional characterisations Atkinson gives a glimpse into war time Britain.

I would not necessarily recommend this title, but I intend listening to another Atkinson title.

Fenella Woolgar was simply OUTSTANDING.

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  • Andreea
  • 20-01-2019

Completely taken by surprise by this one

Well, most surely I did not expect to like this book this much! Although it can be described as an espionage novel (While/Post WW2 espionage - Cold War), it is so much more. With wonderful writing, humorous at times, this book addresses many important topics, some of them very close to my heart. I found it a complete joy to listen to. And I intend to listen to it again. And the performance... yes! After this, it has become clear to me that I prefer British narrators, the performance is always exquisite! Almost all my favourite audiobooks I've purchased on Audible have been narrated by British voices. So, so, so good!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee Ruthenberg
  • 08-10-2018

Understated and excellent.

Kate Atkinson's authors note at the end of Transcription, is perhaps the best review of this excellent book. The author is so fondly interested in niche aspects of history and her writing touch so light that it is a delight to accompany Juliet on her journeys. It is part historical fiction, part spy novel and part character drama. Had Jane Austen lived through the 20th Century perhaps Juliet could have been her character, the internal discourse and commentary on a new and strange gentry - MI5 and the BBC.
Brilliantly read, no mean feat dealing with Atkinson's character's continual internal musings, dialogue and time shifts.
What a thorough pleasure.

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  • Robin
  • 17-10-2018

Terrible ending

This novel left a bad taste in my mouth. It was pretty good until the last chapter, when the story changed completely with a twist that was really a cheat. Kate Atkinson is a good writer but this novel pulled a cheap trick that really she should have passed over.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary Compton
  • 12-09-2018

Masterful

Kate Atkinson is one of our best writers. This story is a serious one but I found myself laughing out loud at some of the sections due to the author's incredible talent for mixing drama with comic dialogue. A truly marvellous read - I cant recommend it highly enough. With so much dross on offer its such a delight.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-2018

Full Marks Kate

I hugely enjoyed this book, my first by Kate Atkinson and the narration by Fenella Woolgar was impeccable. I finished it in two and a half days and am now going to re-listen at a more leisurely pace to enjoy it more thoroughly. It is set in a period of time I can just about remember and mainly in that part of the West End with which I am most familiar - it always makes it more interesting, I find, when you can picture the locations. But I love Kate Atkinson's dialogue, construction and characterisation. I really related to Juliet Armstrong in her various guises and enjoyed her humorous asides. The author's note at the end was very interesting. I'm not nitpicking (especially after hearing Kate's note) but I'm sure Juliet was short-changed when she tendered three half-crowns for a five shilling office whip round - but I may have misheard.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • foxxx
  • 17-09-2018

outstanding

I don't know why I picked this book, it's nothing at all alike to anything I would normally choose, but it was outstanding in both story and performance which had me enthralled to the end.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • indiesgirl
  • 20-09-2018

Absolutely wonderful

From the perfect clipped 1940s narration to the twist at the end of the novel, this story was an absolute joy.
I am a fan of the author and think this is her best novel to date. I was completely transported from the first chapter . Highly recommended

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Radioman
  • 15-09-2018

Another masterful novel

Kate Atkinson seldom fails to delight the reader (we can forgive her Emotionally Weird). Her writing is smooth yet complex and underpinned by an almost forensic interest in historical fact and littered with references to her predecessors, the great writers in the English language.

This is a must for readers who, like me, have a lasting admiration for the role and extreme bravery of the young women in the 1940s whose contribution to the war effort is too often understated.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Bookaholic
  • 19-09-2018

What a tangled web...neatly unravelled at the end

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A good mixture of fact and fiction with each supporting the other brilliantly.
The reader was superb and could not be bettered.
All in all, a very enjoyable audiobook ...my first by Kate Atkinson, and am looking forward to trying more by her.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Parksparker
  • 14-09-2018

Try it!

Really enjoyed this very original book, such a dry humour running through it, I laughed out loud many times.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-09-2018

Things are Seldom What They Seem

Kate Atkinson brings us into the foggy world of WW2 espionage, in this fast-paced, funny and poignant novel.

Juliet Armstrong is recruited to join a Secret Service team monitoring a group of Nazi sympathizers. It's mainly mundane work of listening to and transcribing discussions. However, then Julia is asked to take part in infiltration work...anything else I might write would be classified as a spoiler!

This is a supremely enjoyable novel, which plays with perceptions and expectations - it is deftly comic and gull of surprise.

Fenella Woolgar is just the perfect narrator

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz Scully
  • 14-09-2018

Beautifully written

I have high expectations of Kate Atkinson and this book didn't disappoint. It has all her trademarks - well rounded characters, complex plot and believable dialogue. It's evocative of London and it's time and has a whole world between it's covers.

It also has a lighter tone for the protagonist than many of her other books. The main character is good at puns and plays certain verbal games with herself which is both endearing and slightly annoying, as it would be in real life.

I found the end a little confusing and had to listen to it twice - but I'm off sick and may simply have not been listening carefully enough.

in short - this is another excellent Atkinson, perhaps not her very best, but definitely an author at the top of their game

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. Terrie Rintoul
  • 12-12-2018

Not her finest hour

I have been a great admirer of Kate Atkinson since 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum' reading everything that she has published since. I thought that she was at the top of her game with 'Life After Life' and 'A God in Ruins' so was really looking forward to 'Transcription'.
I stuck with it thinking that it was going to emerge as some sort of pastiche but it never did. If cliches weighed an ounce each and you took 'Transcription' on a plane for a holiday read then you would have spent all your holiday money on excess baggage. I can only think that Random House was being deferential to one of their established authors. If she had submitted this manuscript in place of 'Behind the Scenes..'.my guess is that it would have ended up in the slush pile. Sorry Kate - maybe best to leave this sort of stuff to John le Carre and go back to what you do best.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful