1 Muffin Book Reviews

Review of ‘Katherine Carlyle’ by Rupert Thomson

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was a struggle to get through this book if I’m completely honest, I found myself finding other things to do beside reading because I would just go into a daze and zone out of the story because of how uncaptivating it was!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book


‘Katherine Carlyle’ by Rupert Thomson

In the late 80s, Katherine Carlyle is created using IVF. Stored as a frozen embryo for eight years, she is then implanted in her mother and given life. By the age of nineteen Katherine has lost her mother to cancer, and feels her father to be an increasingly distant figure. Instead of going to college, she decides to disappear, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing-ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scene for a courageous leap from false empowerment to true empowerment.

Written in the beautifully spare, lucid and cinematic prose that Thomson is known for, Katherine Carlyle uses the modern techniques of IVF and cryopreservation to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about where we come from, what we make of ourselves, and how we are loved.

My Review

Katherine Carlyle is a novel I would class under fictional literature for adults (mainly because of some themes and language used). Set in various places, starting in Rome, moving to Berlin, Russia and Norway, this book follows Katherine on her travels to escape her old life and start afresh. The events are told through her pojt of view, which sometimes got very confusing when she was talking about what her father was/could be doing, as she was not with him throughout the entire story. The story was the kind of story where there wasn’t really anything to predict, because nothing seemed to ever happen. The ending was by no means climactic, and overall, the whole story was extremely flat. The pace was very slow, mainly because it wasn’t really heading anywhere, and as a whole, it was quite an unrealistic tale.

It was difficult to have a favourite character in a book so dull, and I can’t remember half of their names anyway. The character’s actions contributed to the unrealistic-ness of the storyline, due to the fact that nothing they did would ever happen in reality. There was not really any characterisation; they were all very two-dimensional characters, and the book seemed more like a place study with some pointless characters thrown in every now and again. I was not kept guessing throughout the book because, as I previously mentioned, there was nothing to guess. My favourite part of the book was the last page, when I could finally put it to rest and say I struggled through, but it was over at last! However, despite this book being extremely dull, Thomson does have a knack for descriptive writing, and some of the setting descriptions were greatly detailed.

Unfortunately, due to the immense struggle to get through the book myself, I would not recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read a storyline with an actual point to it!

My Rating: 1 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you do end up wanting to read the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):


The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

By bookmuffin

I like books and tea. MA Children's Literature student.

2 replies on “Review of ‘Katherine Carlyle’ by Rupert Thomson”

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