Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring 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.
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.
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.
Blogger of accidental discoveries through books
Great read. So different and imaginative. So far this year, it's my favourite for 2015.
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.
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!
This book is just amazing. At this point it is one of my favorite books of all time. Kate Atkinson does an amazing job. The format of story telling is just so unique and a beautiful way to tell the story of WWII.
Adventure and suspense please!
It lacked depth or purpose
While narration was mostly pleasant, the main character's voice was childish and annoying.
The first several lives. The last life.
This book was terribly unsatisfying. I was thankful when it was finally over and angry that I had trusted the good reviews and gone for it, listening to the end. I really don't understand why the author wrote this book. The general concept was intriguing and had great potential, but the way it was expounded upon was just hopelessly depressing and pointless. Though we suffer through many versions of life with the main character, we never really get to know her. Her personality remains shallow, undefined and weak through every life. There is this other character, Izzy, that all the other characters seem to despise throughout the lives and yet, only in one of them is she someone worthy of disdain and even then that is questionable given the circumstances. I just couldn't identify with any of the characters in any of the lives really. The ending was particularly annoying. There really wasn't one. I'm about to ruin it for you here so stop reading now if you plan on listening anyway: SPOILER AHEAD:
It seems that Ursula is just in some kind of weird hell or purgatory like existence where no matter the choices she makes or what she does right or wrong or how long she lives or how she dies, she is doomed to keep coming back to the same old live as the same old person with the same situations ahead and anything good she ever does to change history is wiped away with the beginning of each new life. So, as the listener, you get to join her hell and in the end? Its even worse for you than it is for her because you, unlike her, are fully aware that her loop of a life is eternally doomed. What fun.