What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.
Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can - will she?
Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original - this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.
©2011 Kate Atkinson (P)2013 Hachette Audio
The concept behind this book is fascinating, but the upshot seems to be bleakness and futility. Making different choices just leads to different miseries. So many ways to be unhappy and to die and so many times reliving the horrors of WWII. The only good thing for those who lived through it was that it finally ended! Here it keeps coming back.
For the last third of the book I was wanting to fast forward but never knew exactly where things might change (they don't, much!). And although I spent so much time with the main character, she still seemed a bit of a blank.
The narration was excellent and the evocation of the different eras was quite good, but overall I was quite disappointed. I wonder if this would get published if it was Atkinson's first book.
In my opinion, Connie Willis' 2-part work, Blackout & All Clear, is a much superior book about both the Blitz and the effects of individuals on history.
"Listening with my other ear"
Absolutely, this is great ride.
The continuity of the lives.
The death due to the wife abuser. Anymore details will spoil the book
Almost everyone has wished at one time or another that he or she could change a time or event in history, may it be one of your own or a historical tragedy. But, this novel shows the good and bad that these changes could bring. This is not a book for everyone. You have to pay close attention to the small details. The changes in the plot always effect the reader more than the characters. I believe that Kate Atkinson is a genius. The intertwining of the lives is amazing. I found myself actually relieved after couple of times when the death occurred and a new life began.There was a few events that happened that I wish would had been more clearly explained, but I got it. And, I believe that is it, you either get it or you don't.
I really liked this book, though it brought up interesting ideas and took place in England during WWI and II, which I tend to like. There are bits about Hitler that I think were too much of stretch, but otherwise, I really enjoyed listening. I found myself really rooting for Ursula to have a good life.
Make this a short story instead of a novel.
When Ursula was responding to bombings during the blitz.
This book is a slow, boring version of Groundhog Day. It takes way too long to get to the point.
Say something about yourself!
After reading the reviews I believe that this would be somewhat of an interesting book. However the books send it to be somewhat slow and in parts dull. I began to care less and less about the main character.
This book definitely does not need a follow-up. I'm pretty sure there is nothing more the character has to say.
The tone of the story is so subtly emotional; it's beautiful in a way that is not sentimental or overwrought.
Several moments repeated, and the very idea of memory or of the way one small event can change the course of your life is in itself memorable. Particularly when Ursula avoids disaster and her life takes a better course, the story becomes more memorable.
The awful Maurice was so well done, as was the heroine, Ursula.
It's very thoughtful and lovely. It reminded me of Virginia Woolf for it's subtle power and existential questioning of individuality and interpersonal relationships, to put it in a way that robs it of its aesthetic wonder.
After the first few lives I wanted the main character to really die.
Overall interesting concept but felt boring.
Even the excellent narration couldn't keep me interested in this book; 2 hours into the performance and I was still unattached to the characters and their lives. It just wasn't to my taste.
Fenella Woolgar's excellent narration kept me listening to the annoyingly redundant early chapters of this book. Eventually, Atkinson's lyrical writing pulled me in, but I got lost in the repetitive narrative a few times and had to repeat sections to keep track of what was happening. Still, it was an enjoyable listening experience.
What a strange, absolutely mesmerizing read! Like other reviewers noted, I was a little confused at times, but Ms Atkinson really handled the reincarnation aspect in a unique way. But it was Fenella Woolgar's narration that really captured my attention. I don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much just reading it. She brought it all to life for me.
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