Book Review: The Continuity Girl by Patrick Kincaid

Gosh! Where to start. If a book had been designed by committee to push all of my own particular buttons, it would have been this whimsical, funny and yes, romantic, debut novel by first time author, Patrick Kincaid. Part campus-novel – at least in as much as it has an affectionate dig at academics and their occasionally narrow view of life – and part boy-meets-girl, boy-likes-girl, boy-forgets-to-tell-girl-how-much novel, Patrick’s debut is so much more than that. Various other themes emerge from between the lines like the disturbances on the loch: a meditation on what being Scottish is ( you’ve seen my name and if you heard my incongruous accent you’d understand why this is such a good thing for me), for example. Furthermore, Patrick deals with the nature of reality and perception: by the time I got to the end of the book I was put in mind of a film quote that Patrick doubtless knows

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”.

As note perfect a rendition of the tag-end of the 60s as you will ever find, The Continuity Girl put me in mind of Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl, so accurate is its portrayal of a particular time. The Continuity Girl hops seamlessly between 1969 and 2014, the year of the Scottish Referendum, with nary a stumble. As a bit of a film buff myself, I loved the asides and references sneaked in throughout the text. However, the story is so winning, and so deftly handled, the reader could care as little for such things as Jim Outhwaite himself – and still be royally entertained. Beautifully plotted and neatly tied up at the end, you’ll want to find out if this Academic Jim turns out to be a Lucky one in the end.

Buy Patrick’s book here