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
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"One of the best books I've read all year"
I will listen to this book over and over again, along with its companion book A God in Ruins.
I'd probably compare Life After Life to A God in Ruins (which is the companion book by Kate Atkinson about Ursula's brother Teddy), and it's even better than A God in Ruins. The characters are so beautifully realised that you start to feel as if they are part of your own family.
Otherwise, you might compare it to something like the series about the Cazalets, by Elizabeth Jane Howard (starting with The Light Years), as it is set in a similar time period and has the same family feeling.
This is definitely one of the best books I read this year, so I had to get the audiobook so I could listen to it over and over again. It was the first Kate Atkinson I'd read and since then I've read three more of her books - they all share the wonderful quality of being able to mix humour with tragedy and really feeling like you know these characters. So often when I'm listening to this book I would find myself saying 'Classic Sylvie' or 'Oh Teddy' as if I really knew them!
"Loved every word"
Thought provoking and fascinating til the end. Became totally absorbed into the world of the Todd family.
"One of the best books ever"
I LOVED this book. Fantastic idea exquisitely written and brilliantly narrated. So interesting ......
"Extraordinarily inventive, moving and gripping."
What can I say? Atkinson must be the top literary novelist of her generation, and this novel, with its partner A God in Ruins, is just a joy to listen to. I just don't know how she does it. I'm speechless. I've never known a novel that paints WW2 so well. The characters are beautifully drawn, the style effortless, and the whole awful grip of WW2 is quite within her grasp. Nothing else to say that wouldn't be crazily verbose, so just listen to it and be awed, and affected.
"Witty, deep and clever storytelling"
This is a long story with the mystery of Ursula's reincarnation kept refreshing by having different perspectives each time she lives her life again. Sometimes very sad, sometimes witty but always captivating. It kept me going during my long journeys to work.
"Like listening to the tide turning"
This was recommended to me as a "must read" and I thoroughly concur. The building momentum of imperceptibly changing tides on the narrative was so well crafted.
No. You need to take each away and think about it.
"superb in every way. There are many ways to live "
Superb in every way. There is not but one way there are many ways to live and die.
if you're reading this review, then chances are you read the synopsis. I didn't ... and almost gave up on the listen - the characters rolled into one, scenes repeated, and timelines jumped all over the place.
unbeknownst to me that was the idea. a great idea and the audio reader did it well, but I'd like to read the book now to be able to understand it a lot better.
remember the movie 'changing doors'?? the crucial moment on the train? well that happens in this book every 10minutes!
"Book club August"
Harrowing in parts particularly the domestuc violence and child deaths. Evocative - the descriptions of the bombing raids were vivid but not sensationalist. Sometimes confusing - which is the nature if the style which itself was quite an interesting concept. Does anyone have the chance to live their life over again? Would read again .
"A fantastic listen"
This is a compelling story - and one that repeats! As Ursula's life takes different routes the history of the first half of 20th century is reflected in her personal experiences. The book is made by the brilliant narrator who managed to deal with the many characters with subtle changes that are consistent throughout.
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