I loved this book so much. The characters are likable and realistic, and I found myself rooting for their success immediately.
Very enjoyable voice and inflection.
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.
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.
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
This one just didn't work for me. The "Groundhog Day" plot mechanism where she keeps dying and being reborn serves a purpose, but it's just not worth it. I'm glad I was listening to this because I would have never made it past page 100 if I tried to read it.
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.
The reader was excellent. Unfortunately, the material, although well-written, was a frustrating read. Repeating the same story with different ways to die was exceptionally confusing and in many cases, boring.
The World War II era in England is a fascinating period in history. If the writer had kept to one story line instead of adapting several permutations of how the heroine, Ursula, would have died had events gone differently was a complete disappointment.
The descriptions of living during the bombing blitz in London was well done.
Thank goodness in real life we die only once.
In a beautifully narrated presentation, Atkinson's novel unfolds to us, layer upon layer, a story of great depth and character. A thriller, a saga, a deep well of richness in which to immerse yourself.
As I entered the book, almost immediately I drew in my breath in a gasp at the beauty of the writing, the narration...knew that I was in the hands of a fine literary artist and was ready for a momentous ride. From the title one knows that the main character, Ursula, will die often so I was not emotionally harmed by her multiple sudden deaths but set my mind to watch how her life "repeats" related or built to the point where she "gets it right"...and what the author's vision of getting it right would be. Unfortunately after the flow and glow of her first 8 or so life repeats, to me, the book totally loses focus and gets tedious. Still, I plunged on trusting that no matter how boring, the author was leading to a point..any point that might be interesting and even hoped for a little moment of awe. The reader knows there will be a critical scene with Hitler from the get go. It takes forever to get back to that moment of choice...gets there then ends as though it never happened. Huh? Many of the characters know they are repeating their lives to varying degrees, yet nothing interesting is deduced after the reader knows this is happening. Did you think Ursula got it right in the end...the very strange, silly Hollywood ending? Did the end make any sense whatsoever? It is worth a read as it is great writing, you will meet people you like and there are vignettes of the bombing of London that are fabulous, but don't expect any awe and prepare to be disappointed.
Say something about yourself!
As noted by other reviewers, this book poses some very intriguing questions, primary among them--"If I'd made just one different decision, even a seemingly small one, what impact would that have had on the path my life took?"
I'll also read it again to better examine the careful selection of language. It is no small feat to take a story that repeats itself in some ways over and over--and keep the reader hooked. Atkinson is skillful with even the least of syllables.
Ursula, in all her many incarnations, offered too many memorable moments to select just one. I must say, I do really love how protective and "mama bear" she becomes with her daughter. Lovely scenes there.
What changes...what remains the same?
Although I'm a Kate Atkinson fan, I avoided this book for a long time, thinking that the plot sounded a little too paranormal for my tastes. I'm so glad I read it. Literally, I couldn't stop listening.
I think fans of Audrey Neffeneger, Sebbastian Faulk, Julian Barnes, and AS Byatt will get a lot out of this book.
I must also say that the narration is simply outstanding. I will be nominating Fenella Woolgar for every audio award out there, And reading every book she has narrated. Just abrilliant, peerless performance, a beautiful voice, with excellent accents.