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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"Great story - I didn't want it to finish"
I would recommend this book. I am a great fan of Kate Atkinson novels and this new one didn't disappoint me. The story is quite complex in its exploration of 'alternative' life events, but you get thoroughly involved with the characters and want to know what else might happen to them. The author brings all the threads together by the end and characters reappear when events change
How moved I felt at times by the events that befell Ursula, the main character.
It is beautifully read. I even found myself turning off Classic FM and Radio 4 just to listen to more of the story. She brings the characters alive.
The episode where Ursula is in Berlin with her daughter and also when she rescues the dog, Lucky during the Blitz.
I loved it and I can't wait for Kate Atkinson's next book.
"Clever and intriguing."
The premise is disconcerting at first, but the idea of a story having a different outcome if Ursula, the chief protagonist in the novel, doesn't die is fascinating. The author keeps all the threads running seamlessly. The reading by Fenella Woolgar is superb. This was a real treat.
I finished listening to this today on a long drive and, without thinking about it, immediately started listening again. It wasn't until I read other reviews that I relised the irony of this action.
This is a definite "listen twice" book; maybe more. It will take that to properly understand the clever variations and deviations of all the threads.
I'm a great fan of Kate Atkinson's writing and her skill in weaving stories based on family and other relationships that we can all recognise in our own lives and with an ability to make one smile and wince in the same sentence. This is no exception and arguably takes the art to a new level. KA has also never shied away from describing sudden, violent and tragic death (in an often slightly dissmissive manner). Here she affords herself multiple opportunities to indulge this apparent passion and carries it off with style.
This book is about more than that though. Much more astute people than I have written very insightful reviews of this book so all I need to say is that any fan of KA's work to date surely can't be disappointed by this.
"A superb book"
This is a totally absorbing story, beautifully written by the brilliant Kate Atkinson and wonderfully read by Fenella Woolgar. I've just started to listen to it all over again and am gaining even more enjoyment than the first time around. One comes to know and love the characters and I was moved to tears when it ended, not because of any particular incident in the story, although it is often extremely poignant and thrilling, but at the rich panorama of life that had been so skilfully revealed.
"Really loved this book"
It took ,e a little while to follow the sorry as it jumps about a bit, but I throughly enjoyed it, ursula was a really likeable, it was a fantastic story about how life can be different depending on what choices are made and circumstances differ. Very cleverly done
"A novel without end?"
This was the first audiobook that I have listened to again, immediately after finishing it the first time - which is somewhat appropriate, given its subject. Ursula is born in 1910, and dies, and is reborn again and again, taking different directions in her life - sometime by accident, sometimes due to a feeling of dread and deja vue. Scenes and people from one life pop up again in another, some which the listener will not spot until a second listening. It is fascinating - and intriguing, and the narrator is perfect for the story, the characters and the period.
I cannot say the main characters are particularly likeable, though in many ways it is a book of events and ideas rather than characters.
Not perfect, but unusual and well worth a listen.
"What a disappointment"
The theme of the book just didn't make sense. Well written but too many different short stories which had no logic.
Written a book which made sense.
Well read but it didn't help me understand the point of the book
I gave up after getting half way. Something I very rarely do but I just couldn't be bothered to keep trying..
"Frustrating ending for me!"
I loved the idea - but did not like the ending!
A meaningful ending - although I'm not entirely sure how tbh!!
A novel idea - well executed if a little too many reincarnations after a while!
"Nice idea for a book but a little tedious"
Too many "deaths". It got a little bit repetitive for me to the point of being boring.
The idea of a second chance at life and the exploration of the reincarnation and the human psyche made this book for me. It just went on too long.
Good narration and Woolgar does male and female characters well.
It was OK, just a little tedious towards the end.The characters were believable and one engaged with the main character to an extent. Towards the end, however, I was giving up the will for her to live...it was just over-egged.
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