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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"A good story, well read."
The idea of having infinite amounts of time is fascinating. It took me awhile to get used to the audio version, as (of course) you keep going back, but once I realised that I wasn't continually loosing my place! I really enjoyed the book. Ursula is a good character to follow as she's self-effacing. Having one person's life repeat over and over again is a great narrative device, allowing the reader to engage with the other characters in Ursula's life at a deep level, this (for me) is one of the best bits of the book - we really care about Ursula's family. We are with her as she navigates through various horrors, and have a real sense of dread when certain situations approach.
Because the reader grows so close to these multi-faceted characters surrounding Ursula, a different kind of light is shed on the world wars - sandwiched between various calamities, and the exhausting nightmares of clearing up after bombs, I felt Kate Atkinson really showed the confusion and exhaustion of war.
Worth a read, or a listen.
Parts very good but had to keep rewinding to keep up with time spans of book,but good idea to story
Calm soothing interesting
Good idea but perhaps a better read than audio as difficult to keep track
"An intersting concept"
The idea of repeating a life is not new, but this book doesn't just take one other possible path that a life could have taken, but multiple paths. It was quite gripping and throoughly enjoyable
At first I loved this book then I felt it lost its way in the middle and the ending just confused me. However, as I pondered the ending I realised that I am still thinking about this novel and its many possible meanings and isn't this what a good book should do? It lingers, leaving you thinking long after you've finished.
Superbly narrated by Fenella Woolgar, this was a pleasure to listen to and she certainly did capture the voice of the era. The story and narration brought war-torn London and the horrors of the Blitz so vividly to life, it captivated me and despite not having a huge interest in WWII, Atkinson's descriptions of London during the Blitz were so compelling I now want to learn more about this time period.
This is an extraordinary and complex story, but also a very meandering story, examining bits of one life then having a look at another, some lives more dramatic or interesting than others, some only subtly changed. Sometimes I was just happy to drift along with Ursula from life to life, at others times I felt frustrated thinking " not again" when yet another re-boot begins. This was in some part the point of the novel I guess, life isn't always meaningful, sometimes it just bumbles along and we drift with the current despite having many opportunities for change, at other times we make conscious choices that are life-altering and sometimes we move forward only to end up where we started. This is a story that has so many layers it goes far beyond a simple "life after life" it has lingered a long time with me and certainly warrants a re-read.
"Life's too short...to waste time reading this book"
Such a frustrating read, as soon as I got engrossed with a story line the heroine died. Her relatives seem to carry on their lives in parallel with all of hers, - which really didn't make sense. A series of short stories that all lead nowhere.If I hadn't been on holiday with nothing else to read I would have given up and when I got to the end I really wished I hadn't bothered!
"Very engaging performance."
I read this book about a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I found the ending unsatisfying. The performance of this narrator was excellent and it was very pleasurable to listen. I think the book makes more sense the second time through, and listening to it really brings it alive.
The central character is very likeable, and all the characters are believable and have depth. The way the story explores different paths through life, what might have happened had something quite trivial been done differently or different decisions been taken, is fascinating. The social history is also very well done - informative without being didactic.
It has to be Ursula, although Izzy came a close second.
"Beautiful, haunting, endearing"
Beautiful - Haunting - Endearing
When Ursula finds out about Jimmy - both times.
Fenella conveyed the characters' personalities perfectly through her rendition and speech. She was Ursula. Her pronunciation was excellent.
Touching lives across time.
Loved this book - loved the story and the main character. It is sad and poignant and thought provoking. The detail, provided through the scene setting, dialogue and prose reflects highly on the author's skill and research. I rate each book I read and this is the first book, in several years, to get 10 out of 10.
Definitely,It was a good story and beautifully narrated.
Very easy to listen to.
A bit too long for that-but it didn't take long.
"Return to form for Atkinson"
I really enjoyed this, it’s a beautiful zig zag and meditation on the permeations of life and how fragile it is. Its images and message will stay with me for a good while I think.
"A Must Listen"
What a book. It is fantastically well narrated, the story is rich with characters and endless possibilities and Kate Atkinson does a great job holding all the threads of the story together to great a suspenseful story. There are points when I felt I could not listen anymore knowing some awful fate it about to unfold. The descriptions of London in the blitz brings something to life that constant reference to has dulled with parts unashamedly bringing a tear to my eye. A Must Listen
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