Shrines of Gaiety
‘Atkinson has a plotter’s mind: intricate, clever, satisfying…Shrines of Gaiety is engrossing and fun, powered by subtle skills.’ – The Sunday Times
‘Seduction, betrayal and larger-than-life characters that will have you hooked until the last page.’ – The Sunday Telegraph
‘This book is one to savour, for the energy, for the wit, for the tenderness of characterisation that make Atkinson enduringly popular.’ – The Guardian
‘Atkinson is a thoughtful writer with an astute understanding of 20th-century social history. This is the perfect novel for uncertain times, when comfort of a particularly English and nostalgic stripe is required.’ – The Times
‘A rich cast of characters, an elegantly intricate plot – this is classic Atkinson.’ – Observer
1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters, and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.
The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.
With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson brings together a glittering cast of characters in a truly mesmeric novel that captures the uncertainty and mutability of life; of a world in which nothing is quite as it seems.
[A] glittering foray into London’s post-WWI Soho…Atkinson’s incisive prose and byzantine narrative elegantly excavate the deceit, depravity, and destruction of Nellie’s world. She also turns this rich historical into a sophisticated cat-and-mouse tale as the various actors try to move in on Nellie’s turf. Atkinson is writing at the top of her game.
An atmospheric romp through Soho’s roaring 20’s nightlife and low-life.