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
I would try another book by Kate Atkison - she is a terrific writer, but I would READ it, not listen to it. Books that have a lot of characters, a lot of rotating viewpoints, or shift around in time do not make good audiobooks. This book does all three. You need to be able to flip back and forth in the pages to figure out exactly what she is trying to do with time and an unconventional plot. She had great characters and some great historical detail, butt the book went on for what seemed like a hundred pages too long. I had to force myself to listen for the last three or four chapters. The book seemed to belabor what seemed a fairly obvious point, but again, I think I would have felt differently if I'd read it.
A historical novel of some kind
The London bombings are done quite well. Great detail.
It went on way too long.
She is an excellent writer, however, with beautiful prose and great sibling interaction.
I think that this book would be enjoyed by people who enjoy far too much unnecessary detail.
I'm not sure Life After Life turned me off to stories from this genre. Probably not. However, this book has definitely turned me off to this author. Sorry, Ms. Atkinson.
While she was not my favorite, I didn't think she was the worst narrator ever. She did keep the story appropriately somber.
This book sparked much disappointment. The very first few minutes of listening seemed like the book would be intense and awesome, but I would say that the rest of it was very anticlimactic, depressing, and boring.
Employed by WLJT, a PBS Station, in NW Tennessee, I am the Director of Education and Outreach. I am a wife, a mother of 3, Grandmother of 4
If you've ever seen the movie, "Sliding Doors," you will totally understand this book. If you've ever wondered if you'd left home a little earlier or took a different route, would you end up having a close encounter with an 18 wheeler? If I hadn't married my first husband who moved our family to a new town, would I have found my second husband...the love of my life? This is a "what if" book. It does wonder around a bit and tends to be a little confusing. Are we listening to the story before something changed or did something happen and we just missed it. The characters, for the most part, are likeable, logical, smart, and very human. They do have their faults. They also have good points. They are not exactly compelling even though the heroine is likeable. However, I lam green with envy and long for a father just like her's. This is a good, but not a great read, it will hold your attention but it will not make you late for work or miss any sleep because you just can't turn it off. Recommend it???? Probably. Love it???? Not so much.
Verdict is not in yet.
The lead character has her merits. She can be spunky at times be a total doormat at others, depending on the part of the book you're in. She does make some questionable moral choices...don't we all?
Second Chances. What if? How could I have made so many stupid choices and lived to tell about it?
The best part of this book is the heroine's relationship with her siblings. We've all got brothers and sisters who we like better than the others. The fact that she has a genuine and loving connection with her only sister was amazingly real. I guess that's because I have almost the same relationship with my only sister. That's why I was more generous to this story than I could have been.
I always enjoy a Kate Atkinson tale; she is a marvelous storyteller. This one is as intriguing as they all are, but it is a tough story to follow. I am left not sure what to say about it. I enjoyed every minute of listening to it, but at the end, I was left wondering what really happened and whether or not it matters if I know what really happened.
Looking at the story from every perspective, exploring alternate realities, is an interesting exercise, but the seeming lack of resolution at the end left me wondering whether Atkinson perhaps had written several possible story routes and in the end decided to include them all. Regardless, the multiple story routes tell an interesting story of their own, providing an amazing variety of perspectives on an interesting time and an interesting set of characters. I recommend it, but be aware that your patience will be tried.
I really liked Life After Life. I'm not sure what I read, but I suspended reality and went with it and enjoyed listening to this book. Kate Atkinson is one of my favorite authors and I look forward to all of her books.
I thought the story was interesting and beautifully crafted. Even the passage of time was fluid and non-linear, somehow Ms. Atkinson made it work.
The narrator, Fenella Woolgar is one of the best I have ever heard. Her dialects and the tones used for men and children were flawless in their subtlety, without being overbearing.
I liked the revisited scenes where Ursula made different choices that diverted her life from the miserable one that had happened. In particular, the way she resisted Howie, and the time she ran away from Mr. Oliphant the second time around. I wanted to cheer!
Probably not, only because once you know the story, the elements of suspense and surprise are missing, and they are close to the heart of the story, but I will definitely recommend this to all my friends.
The scenes of death during an air raid in London.
The very last one, because it was such a complete surprise to me. I expected the book to be finished after the scene before it. The fact that it wasn't takes the book's message in an entirely different direction, at the absolute last moment.
This book doesn't make you laugh or cry. It makes you stare off into space and wonder.
It is dark without being tragic.
A very different book presenting a life that could have been different-and the alternate life was then presented! Confusing at first but then I couldn't wait to hear another alternate life.
Wonderful story and excellent narrator. I knew this would be clever and have an unexpected ending and it didn't disappoint.
The narrator's performance was the standout highlight of this audiobook. She carries off a variety of languages and accents almost flawlessly, and manages to create a recognizable voice for each of the characters, even modulating them carefully from childhood to old age while not losing the timbre and tone that differentiates each role. Her pace was just right too - fast enough to hold the attention while never garbling or running sentences together. Her narration added immeasurably to the book and the lasting impression it will leave with me: it's truly a reference for quality audio recording.
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