I felt it was about 2 hours too long.
Historically grabbed my attention about the Nazi era but too long
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
Overall this book was disappointing. It got such rave reviews, for the most part. However, as a friend said, you either love it or hate it. Well, I didn’t actually hate it because I find it intriguing to think of the questions and issues that the book brings up : What if we could start over again? or What if one important moment in history were changed? How would that change the world? Is there such a thing as reincarnation?
However, the book becomes confusing in it’s starts and stops. I just had to let that go, and in the end it does seem to hang together well enough that I got the threads of the plot that does continue even throughout all of Ursula’s “reincarnations.” Also, there are so many reiterations of her life that it just gets WAY too long. I was waiting for it to be over most of the time. That’s a bad sign in a book, of course ☺
I find it confusing, and I want to understand if Ursula was meant to finally KNOW about all her reincarnated lives and thus CHOOSE to start another one, as in the ending of the book? OR is she just vaguely aware of her “premonitions” and “déjà vu” feelings and that is as far as it goes? I’m leaning toward thinking that she DOES know and uses this knowledge as power to hopefully change the world.
Also, there is a bit about Sylvie, Ursula’s mother, meeting in London with another man, not her father. Then that detail is NEVER mentioned again. I think this is a flaw in the book. I have read that in Atkinson’s next book, this incident is expanded upon, and we find out what is going on with that incident. One shouldn’t have to read the NEXT book to find an answer if this book is supposed to be a self-contained novel!
The use of rebirth was a great device to move the story along as well as to develop other characters in the book. At first, I was afraid the story was becoming tedious because of the continual retelling of the protagonist's life, always starting from birth. But then the pace picked up, the plot took off, and the story raced along. I was hooked and had a hard time putting it down. Unfortunately, just after the half-way point--and yet another rebirth--I returned to my feeling that the book was becoming tedious and I just kept hoping for the story to wrap up and finish. All in all, I guess I give it a B-/C+. I liked the book. Nicely written. Good narration. Too long.
This book has been sitting in my library for a while. If I had the chance to do it all again I would have listened to it sooner. It's a beautiful story, well written and narrated wonderfully. It will grab ahold of you and not let go.
As a creative writting major I try to read books in hopes of gathering tips and being enspired. Atkinson is an author I adore and her work so rich with description and emotion.
Far more than any historical novel that I've read. Amazing. Imaginative. Addictive. I'm off to read her other books. Starting right away.
The tapestry of the same life over and over and infinite variations possible. Is it intentional growth? Is it just wondering? What is the goal?
The retelling never gets boring. The narration is wonderful. Highly recommend.
I may just start this story over again right now.
A magnificently written book (Big Kate Atkinson fan!) with an especially magnificent reading. An audio book made in heaven. This is a haunting and perceptive, humorous and tragic observation of a very old soul and each and every character in the book is performed with impeccable depth and nuance.
Wonderful exploration of the endless possibilities available in the " pinball machine" version of all the character's lives. They live. They die. They are reborn to explore other paths. Fascinating, beautifully written. Thoughtful, poetic observations about the meaning or meaninglessness of life.