Married. Mother. Student. Full-time job. 33 years old. Doctor Who fanatic. Not necessarily in that order.
We often take it for granted that we'll never know what might have been. If only we'd chosen a different path. If only that one thing had never happened. If only that one thing had actually happened... This book lets us see it, and it's interesting, and refreshing, and exciting. We know Ursula is experiencing life after life, but it appears that the people around her are as well. And that thought that everyone is blessed (doomed) to live again and again until they get it right is such a big idea that this book hasn't left me in the six weeks since I finished it.
I really enjoyed this book. Granted, it took a while to get into because her lives in the beginning were so short. But after an hour or so, as her lives get longer and her choices and the choices of the people around her become more complicated, things get more interesting. What can she change? What can't she change? And are the people around her also experiencing this (for lack of a better word) déjà vu? (I think they are.)
I found the book surprisingly easy to follow despite the number of times the book jumps around in the timeline, and I was so engrossed in it that paying attention was effortless. Fenella Woolgar narrated it excellently, especially considering all of the languages contained in the book.
I would highly recommend this book, especially to those interested in what it was like to be a civilian in England or Germany during World War II.
This book reminded me of my favorite Kate Atkinson novel -Behind the Scenes at the Museum, but in many aspects Life After Life is even better written and developed.
As noted by previous reviewers, the book is about a British Woman, nee 1910, that gets to live her life over and over again, while in each round we get to discover more about her family, her surroundings, her emotions.
The story itself is very well written and creats a very good starting point for readers imagination to run wild,
Everyone wishes they could have done something over again in their life to correct a mistake or make the right choice, or even to see if another choice would have led down a better path in life. Ursula gets that ability in this excellent novel. Ursula is a young girl who gets to do life over and over again until she gets it exactly right. Of course, the ultimate point of the story is whether or not it's possible to get it exactly right or if you are doomed to infinite repetition.
Very powerful, very emotional.
This was my most horrible reading experience in the past 15 years. I read Life After Life because of my beloved Book Club, which I think is testing my resolve to finish a bad book. This “book” is quite similar to the movie Ground Hog’s Day, except take away all the humor or lovable characters. It is numbingly boring; dull scenes repeat, with subtle variations. It is a perfect example of pretentious authorship. You guessed it -- it drew in some fop critics. The “book” will die and thankfully never be reincarnated. I just wish the same fate had met Ursula. Maybe I will write a novel of redemption about the misunderstood, but creepy man from the lane or the charming sausage and cigar man. The same stupid critics will glom on my work … “like the moths drawn to warm light on a chilly night in late November when leaves whisper meanings discernible only fleetingly to a few of the touched.” Skip this dreck!Barristers Book Club Vice President
She could have stopped writing after the first death of the lead character, Ursula
Every time Ursula died.
No, it did not, which is terrible waste, considering the time spent
I am a huge Kate Atkinson fan. I love her writing, her characters and her stories. But this book, halting after faltering so many times, made me finally give up. I'm not sure the performance was as bad as the book, but I couldn't get through either.
I ENJOYED THE STORY BUT SINCE I LISTENED TO IT WHILE WALKING AND STOPPED IS UNTIL THE NEXT WALK, I LOST THE CONSISTENCY OF THE STORY. I WOULD RECOMMEND THE STORY AS I DID LIKE THE SUBJECT AND THE CHARACTERS.
THE CHARACTERS WERE VERY INTERESTING
MY FAVORITE WAS URSALA.
THE PART ABOUT THE WAR.
I expected that one would come to understand why and/or how this poor woman had to keep re-living her life. That just never happened. I also expected that with each chance to do it over again she would have taken completely different paths - rather, she just made little nuanced changes to her life that still ended in her repeatedly dying. Lastly, and perhaps unrealistically, that something would occur such that she would stay dead eventually.
The sense that the book didn't end, and the author created no sense that it ever would.
Ursula's father was kind, but I loved the character of the Cook. She struck me as not a particularly good cook, and a grumpy old woman, yet there was something in her that loved this family.
Imagination - the entire time, I found myself wondering what different path I would take given multiple times to try. Although, Ursula has really bad luck, because she just keeps on running into fatality.
Despite all of this, the prose was beautifully written and the story was interesting until I realized that it would never have a satisfactory conclusion and I would be left with a sense of having not "finished" the story.
Probably not, but only because I am not that interested in listening to any audiobooks a second time.
Not a book, but I was reminded a lot of the latest season of Upstairs-Downstairs. I could snarkily say "Groundhog Day" as well, but I think the way she plays with time to emphasize and re-emphasize elemental truths about humanity reminded me a lot of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and DeLillo's Underworld.
The care she took in giving each character a voice, even when it was difficult. Keeping the Irish maid distinct from the lower-class coal stoker is one thing. Breathing incandescently unique life into Sylvie and her two daughters Pamela and Ursula, three women whose upbringing and accents are, basically, identical, AND then tracking that uniqueness through four decades of growing up was another all together, and it was splendid.
Funny question. This book is so long it was never a question. Nonetheless, I think I would say "no" regardless. The harrowing ends Ursula meets can be tough to stomach. Too many in one go could get a little relentless.
I am more and more impressed with the quality of these audio recordings, and more and more pleased with my Audible Gold membership. I have now listened to ~ 9 audiobooks, and 8 of 9 have been good (and most of those, including this one, have been GREAT).
This is one of the few books I would listen to again.
Stick with it. The story is multilayered and wonderful.
What an astonishing writer Ms. Atkinson is. Paired with a marvelous and pitch perfect reader too. Found myself "rewinding the tape" - sometimes more than once - just to relish the prose and the performance. Three cheers!