Excerpt from Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Started Early, Took My Dog

A Novel

By Kate Atkinson

Started Early, Took My Dog
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2011,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2011,
    400 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Jesus H. Christ," Arkwright gasped, bending over and resting his hands on his knees when they finally achieved the fifteenth floor. "I used to be a rugby wing forward, believe it or not."

"Ay, well, you're just an old, fat bloke now," Tracy said. "What number?"

"Twenty-five. It's at the end."

A neighbor had phoned in anonymously about a bad smell ("a right stink") coming from the flat.

"Dead rats, probably," Arkwright said. "Or a cat. Remember those two dogs in that house in Chapeltown? Oh no, before your time, lass."

"I heard about it. Bloke went off and left them without any food. They ate each other in the end."

"They didn't eat each other," Arkwright said. "One of them ate the other one."

"You're a bloody pedant, Arkwright."

"A what? Cheeky so-and-so. Ey up, here we go. Fuck a duck, Trace, you can smell it from here."

Tracy Waterhouse pressed her thumb on the doorbell and kept it there. Glanced down at her ugly police-issue regulation black lace-ups and wiggled her toes inside her ugly police-issue regulation black tights. Her big toe had gone right through the hole in the tights now and a ladder was climbing up toward one of her big footballer's knees. "It'll be some old bloke who's been lying here for weeks," she said. "I bloody hate them."

"I hate train jumpers."

"Dead kiddies."

"Yeah. They're the worst," Arkwright agreed. Dead children were trumps, every time.

Tracy took her thumb off the doorbell and tried turning the door handle. Locked. "Ah, Jesus, Arkwright, it's humming in there. Something that's not about to get up and walk away, that's for sure."

Arkwright banged on the door and shouted, "Hello, it's the police here, is anyone in there? Shit, Tracy, can you hear that?"

"Flies?"

Ken Arkwright bent down and looked through the letter box. "Oh, Christ - " He recoiled from the letter box so quickly that Tracy's first thought was that someone had squirted something into his eyes. It had happened to a sergeant a few weeks ago, a nutter with a Squeezy washing-up bottle full of bleach. It had put everyone off looking through letter boxes. Arkwright, however, immediately squatted down and pushed open the letter box again and started talking soothingly, the way you would to a nervy dog. "It's OK, it's OK, everything's OK now. Is Mummy there? Or your daddy? We're going to help you. It's OK." He stood and got ready to shoulder the door. Pawed the ground, blew air out of his mouth and said to Tracy, "Prepare yourself, lass, it's not going to be pretty."

  • 1
  • 2

This is an excerpt from Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. Copyright © 2011 by Kate Atkinson. Reprinted by permission of Reagan Arthur Books, Little Brown, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Decoding British Phrases

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

Censorship, like charity, should begin at home: but unlike charity, it should end there.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.