It’s been nine years since we’ve last seen Jackson Brodie, and in those nine years a lot has changed. So much has changed that I found myself lost a few times- am I supposed to remember this? Is that name supposed to mean something? Is this kid important? Jackson seemed a bit adrift at times as well, but I suppose that was more intentional than my foggy memory.
The world has changed for Jackson. His career, his family, his car, his dog- it’s all changing. The crime he finds himself up against is changing as well. Jackson Brodie has never dealt with clean cases, and their garish hues always drew me in, but the series of violent acts and filthy thoughts throughout Big Sky have changed as well. Where Case Histories felt raw and new, Big Sky feels blunted but deep.
Big Sky feels reactionary in a way that reads as a choice- have Jackson fumble with the trappings of our future while fumbling with his own aging body and place in the world- but sometimes feels more like a 2019 “hot take” than a character study. There wenre pieces that felt assigned- like there was a deadline and topic in place.
We were lucky enough to receive two Kate Atkinson novels in 2019, and while I appreciate new content from one of my favorite writers I can’t help but feel a little let down after failing to find the heart – and don’t worry, there’s plenty of other body parts- within Big Sky.