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Review of the audiobook “Normal Rules Don’t Apply” by Kate Atkinson – a collection of magical yet relatable stories.

This grouping of interlinked tales written by Kate Atkinson, the author of Life After Life, features conversing dogs and horses, spectating ghosts, and a world ruled by The Void. This phenomenon occurs daily, causing a temporary blackout and the disappearance of anyone outside during that time.

In Gene-sis, the leader of humanity is known as “sister of God” Kitty, a marketing professional who takes on the role of God after her brother steps down; while in Blithe Spirit, Mandy, a former assistant to a politician, observes her own autopsy in the afterlife and discovers that she died from a gunshot to the head. Being a ghost brings challenges, but it also allows Mandy to observe human behavior from a unique and otherworldly perspective. One of the recurring characters in the story is Franklin, a producer on a popular soap opera who once aspired to write his “Great Novel” but has faced misfortunes in life until a talking racehorse gives him a winning tip.

The storyteller in this book is played by Paterson Joseph, known for his role in Noughts + Crosses. His deep voice perfectly captures the apocalyptic tone of the story. The writing skillfully combines elements of fantasy and everyday life, highlighted by a scene where a mother survives The Void while shopping at Waitrose. These stories are filled with a sense of sadness as the characters struggle to navigate through a distorted reality and maintain a sense of agency in their lives.

“Normal Rules Don’t Apply” is accessible on Penguin Audio for a duration of 5 hours and 37 minutes.

Further listening

I am called Barbra.

“Barbra Streisand, Penguin, 2 days and 14 minutes.”

The renowned artist shares her monumental autobiography, reflecting on her upbringing in Brooklyn and her 60-year-long success on stage, screen, and in the music industry.

How They Broke Britain

James O’Brien, Penguin, 10 hours and 23 minutes
The author and long-standing member of LBC tells the story of his book, which chronicles a 13-year period of Conservative rule marked by scandals, selfishness, and remarkable incompetence.

Source: theguardian.com