Normal Rules Don't Apply

Kate Atkinson

Normal Rules Don't Apply
Transworld Publishers Ltd
United Kingdom
22 August 2023

Normal Rules Don’t Apply

Kate Atkinson

From the Number One bestselling author of Shrines of Gaiety and Life After Life, a full collection of short stories to delight, intrigue and surprise.

One of the world's great storytellers conjures a captivating new book. In this first full collection since Not the End of the World, we meet a queen who makes a bargain she cannot keep; a secretary who watches over the life she has just left; and a man whose luck changes when a horse speaks to him.

Witty and wise, with subtle connections between the stories, Normal Rules Don't Apply is a startling, and funny feast for the imagination. In Kate Atkinson's world nothing is over until ' the talking dog speaks.'


Kate Atkinson’s first full collection of short stories, Normal Rules Don’t Apply are absurdist in their content – and, to be honest, a little spooky. It does seem as if Atkinson has been reading the Bible and the result is that certain fables are now set in an English landscape in a normal, everyday type of home. Each story in this collection is a fairytale designed to grab ideas from the past and shake them up.

The collection begins with a plague of sorts. Titled ‘The Void’, it wipes out people at the same time every day. ‘Shine, Pamela, Shine’ deals with immaculate conception in a poor, post-menopausal woman ‘just doing her very best under the circumstances’. ‘Classic Quest 17: Crime and Punishment’ deals with the unruly behaviour of offspring. Elsewhere, there are stories in which horses talk back, women can turn into powerful forces, and time stands still. Each story calls on influences from many great writers, poets, and philosophers to create something unique, yet, because we are in Atkinson’s safe hands, familiar as well. It is, after all, a collection about how ridiculous we are, how fancy-free we can be, and how consequences make us all a little crazy. Despite the vastness of each story’s concept, each entry deliciously narrows down on domestic life.

And there lies Atkinson’s power: the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Reach for this collection when you need a fresh perspective. Grab this collection to laugh, to commiserate, and to bow down to one of the greatest writers in the world. Fans will delight. New admirers will discover how her wit and observational powers change your own internal considerations. I mean, we shouldn’t just trust what is in front of us. Should we?

This item is in-stock at 4 shops and will ship in 3-4 days

Our stock data is updated periodically, and availability may change throughout the day for in-demand items. Please call the relevant shop for the most current stock information. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Sign in or become a Readings Member to add this title to a wishlist.