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
First, there were many things about this book that were outstanding. The writing is elegant. The narration is quite good. I will definitely read other books by Kate Atkinson very soon.
My feelings were mixed because I felt that the hopping around to alternate versions of the story did not quite work for me. The stories themselves were great. By the end of the book, I had no sense of where the story landed. Maybe that was the point. If so, it just didn't work for me.
The book starts with the statement “What if we had a chance to do it again and again until we finally did get it right?” Ursula Todd seems destined to live multiple lives and the only things she seems to get right is to not die the same way too many times. The story offers no hope of what “getting it right” really means. Another reviewer wrote that the book “…tackles some rather weighty existential questions” when in fact it make no attempt to answer any questions at all. I was disappointed because the premise of the story could have been great but because there is no ending it falls flat.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, novelist.
This is one of my favorite books of the past year (out of about 60). The concept is intriguing, and the protagonist becomes more compelling with each iteration. The minor characters also acquire more depth as they resurface throughout the stories. The narrator could not have been better. And the ending is tremendously satisfying. This is not a book I'll soon forget.
I love technology, reading, music, and shoes (not necessarily in that order.)
This review is for the Audible version. I gave this book “5 stars” because I enjoyed it (I think.)
I say I think because it took me a few chapters to catch on to what the heck was happening. I felt as if I was trapped in a Twilight Zone episode for a minute. Once I got the jest of what was happening I was able to concentrate more on the story – and a lot of story(s) it was.
I thought that the narrator, Fenella Woolgar, did an excellent job. She made each character come alive, and there was a distinct difference in their voices. It was a very unique approach to storytelling, and I think the book will find its way into the classroom because of this uniqueness.
However… there were times when I thought to myself… Lord is this every going to end! I did manage to make it to the end, and as I reflect back I enjoyed it as a whole. At the end of the book I knew all of the characters very well, and I have read many books where that was not the case.
If you appreciate “a different” approach to literature you will enjoy this. But be prepared to think as well as be entertained.
Blogger of accidental discoveries through books
Great read. So different and imaginative. So far this year, it's my favourite for 2015.
Very interesting book. Incredible turn(s) of events and the story allows the reader to really get to know the characters--especially Ursula--and root for her as she becomes stronger, wiser with each "pass."
One of the best books I've listened to, and the narrator is superb. Will definitely recommend to others and send as a gift.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I am awestruck by Kate Atkinson's skill as a writer. This is a perfect example of how she can craft a story with a level of complexity that's just mind-boggling. As the book went on, I couldn't wait to see where she took the characters and the plot. I'm not sure I've ever encountered anything quite like it - except for other books by her.
It doesn't take more than a glance at the reviews to see this isn't a book for everyone. It takes some twists and turns. It's not linear in its structure. It threw me off for about the first hour, but once I got used to it and understood what she was doing I found it easy to follow. Then I couldn't put it down. I'm so glad I waited it out. The narration is spot on.
Typically with a book like this I'd say, "if you like [this author], you'll like this book." In this case I cannot compare it to anything or anyone else. It stands alone. I just kept mumbling to myself, "she's brilliant." I can't wait to listen to it a second time just so I can marvel at it again.
I was so excited when i saw this book. It sounded so interesting. It was probably one of the worst books i have ever read. There didn't seem to be a point to the whole story. The narrator did a good job but that is about all i can say was good. I agree with some of the other reviewers that said a few less lives would have been better.