What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?
Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, she finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here is Kate Atkinson at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.
©2013 Kate Atkinson (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
I really wanted to like this because I love everything else Kate Atkinson has written. So I kept trying and re-trying to slog through it. But it is so, so boring. The characters are bland, the setting is bland and every time her life started again, I groaned because I knew there was just more blandness coming. Really disappointed
"What a waste, Kate."
So disappointing - I was so excited to download a new Kate Atkinson novel but this book was not the treat I was expecting. The story was so boring and, with the full intention of the author, extremely repetitive. The book had none of Kate's intricate and exciting plots that unravel and all makes sense in the end. If I hadn't been listening to it with someone else bothering to read it to me, I would never have finished reading it. Come on Kate, you can do better!
"Challenging and deeply sattisfying"
An excellent book! The first Kate Atkinson I've really enjoyed since Human Croquet, although this is deeper and much more complicated.
I found the publisher's blurb "What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?" to be unhelpful, though. The story told is not about this but is the well-written details of Ursula's various probable lives, each changed minutely or wholly by her own unknowing choices - or (sometimes) the choices of others.
This is a challenging read and although the first half, dealing with Ursula's various childhoods, were very enjoyable and I was completely gripped by it, the second half, covering Ursula's violent and difficult marriage, or in another life, her work as an ARP during WW2 where nothing - especially dead bodies and bombs - is glossed over and yet another where she starves with her child in Germany at the end of WW2.
There appears to be no overall story to this book, no getting it "right" and no ultimate end.
It was a wonderful read, exceedingly well-written and beautifully narrated.
I look forward to seeing this novel as a contender for some high-profile prizes in 2013.
"An interesting take"
This is a book you have to stick with and give it chance to come into its own. As the book covers the idea of reincarnation obviously lives end in the book but it was not always clear that a 'new life' was coming into play which could be a little confusing. There were some interesting paths that lives took which I enjoyed listening to. I found I needed to devote a good chunk of time to listen to the book rather than dipping in and out on the drive to and from work.
This is an absolutely excellent book, full of great characters, fantastic stories, intrigue and suspense - you're never quite sure where the story will turn. I loved the fact that there were subtle links between all the different paths Ursula's life could have taken, and how a seemingly small event can make such a huge difference to someone's life. I think Kate Atkinson is fantastic!
There are so many that it is difficult to choose one particular moment. The whole story around Ursula's ability to predict the future was interesting, but there were many other moments that will stay with me, including: the death of Teddy and their mother's suicide, the relationship with Chrichton, the rape and subsequent abortion, the drowning of the young cousin, Ursula's murder by her jealous husband, the story of Rene and the gruesome job Ursula had during the Blitz, particularly finding the dead baby.
Yes, tthere were two: the moment Ursula's husband found her with her brother Teddy; blind with jealousy, he murdered her, and the Blitz scene where Ursula finds Rene and the dead baby.
There were times where I found the narrator's voice annoying, but overall she did a great job, particularly with the different voices for the many different characters.
This is a good listen, but do take note of the dates at the beginning of each chapter or you will get lost. In a book you can just turn back the page. But notwithstanding the date bit, it is a good story, incredibly sad in parts especially the war, but a very well thought out and clever book. The narrator is very good.
When I first downloaded this book it defeated me. I could not cope with the shift of time and circumstances of the characters. I was intrigued by the idea but found I could not follow the storyline. I decided to download the kindle version and finally conquered and enjoyed this book. I think the book needs to be read fairly quickly to follow the changes in time and place, a hard copy would have been an useful addition just to check how things progressed when a point needed clarifying. I am pleased that I persevered as there were clever references to the development of the story as the plot unravelled. definitely thought provoking.
"An epic family drama unraveled and re woven"
I really enjoyed this disjointed story of a life relived.
I really cared about the family and was rooting for them
Yes! But the breaking up and repetition of the story make it also a good one to dip in and out of.
"A thought provoking and engrossing marvel."
I actually had the book as well as the audio and switched from one to the other; a fascinating experiment which worked beautifully depending upon what situation I was in each time. Fenella Woolgar is sublime and her voice(s) followed me to the book. Brilliant.
"Stick with it - you won'tbe disappointed."
Just the whole story - weird on so many levels, but compelling. It left me rather breathless.
The story of firewatching in London. It reminded me of my mother's stories of firewatching in Liverpool. And I want to know more.
I'm not sure about the narration. Often words were swallowed which was annoying.
No, there was too much to take all at once
I will be looking at more of Kaye Atkinson's books.
For those who may be hesitant to try this book because of comparisons with the plotlines of movies like Groundhog Day and About Time, don't be. Yes the main thread through the book is a musing on how a life might be if it was possible to go back and influence the outcome of key moments in it. This is well-trodden ground but then there are no true new story-lines. Kate Atkinson is a really skilful writer with a great ear for dialogue and an ability to create a cast of characters that feel real. The novel is set between the war years and during the second world-war. I cannot vouch for every detail but the historical setting feels right and the characters speak the way you would expect them to speak. I don't recall a single anachronistic phrase or event. The narrator is excellent. She speaks very clearly, pauses where you need to pause, and brings life to the characters. All in all, well worth your time - possibly more than once.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.