Normal Rules Don't Apply

Normal Rules Don't Apply


Discover the fantastical Sunday Times bestselling short story collection from the award-winning author of Shrines of Gaiety and Life After Life.

'Simply one of the best writers working today, anywhere in the world' Gillian Flynn

‘As soon as you get to the end, you’ll be tempted to just start at the beginning’ Independent

Funny and poignant in equal measure, you’ll want to read this captivating collection in one mystical sitting.’ Daily Express

Welcome to a world, where nothing is quite what it seems…
In these pages, you’ll meet, among others, 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.

With clockwork intricacy, inventiveness and sharp social observation, Kate Atkinson conjures a feast for the imagination in a constantly changing multiverse.

Atkinson’s first short story collection in twenty years, Normal Rules Don't Apply is a dazzling array of eleven interconnected tales.


Hilarious, breathtaking, horrific, irresistible ... [Atkinson is] always in command ... Heart in mouth, I never wanted this book to endSydney Morning Herald

Sublime … showcases her superb storytelling and the wit of her writing’ Good Housekeeping

‘Life in all of its surreal, tragic and comic glory is perfectly captured within these pages’ Red

‘Dazzling’ Reader's Digest

Praise for Kate Atkinson:

'Inexhaustibly ingenious' HILARY MANTEL

'A brilliant and profoundly original writer' RACHEL CUSK

'Atkinson is a novelist of unrivalled immediacy, authority, and skill' FINANCIAL TIMES

'One of the country's most innovative, exciting and intelligent authors.' SCOTSMAN


  • What really binds these stories is their underlying theme, which has perhaps always been Atkinson’s true subject: the nature of storytelling itself. She can be very funny, but she is highly serious about the idea that human existence is bound up with words… If you’re thinking about what fiction means, no invocation could be more thought-provoking or ironically complex
    Times Literary Supplement

About the author

Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is one of the world's foremost novelists. Her most recent novel, Shrines of Gaiety, set in the aftermath of the First World War, is a Sunday Times bestseller. She won the Whitbread Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her three critically lauded and prize-winning novels set around the Second World War are Life After Life, an acclaimed 2022 BBC TV series, A God in Ruins (both winners of the Costa Novel Award) and Transcription. Her bestselling literary crime novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog, became a BBC television series starring Jason Isaacs. Jackson Brodie later returned in the novel Big Sky. Kate Atkinson was awarded an MBE in 2011 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
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