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
interesting concept but really just annoying by halfway through and it has no resolution. Rough content for an audiobook maybe it would be less jarring if I read it in print.
The story turned out to be an interesting concept. It is about the same person reliving her life in different situations or having made different decisions. It was indeed thought provoking. But the descriptions of different horrible situations were too graphic for me.
Once you realize that this is not written in linear time it becomes a beautifully knitted tale of what might have beens.
I love books.
It took me a little while to really latch on Ursula's character, but then all of a sudden I just did. The writing is beautiful and the main thing I got from this book is a real feel for life in England before and during WWI and WWII. We get to see the Todd family, primarily Ursula, going through middle/upper-class English life. There is an element of "genre fiction" in this as Ursula dies repeatedly, but keeps getting to re-do her life.
One of the things I loved about this book was getting to see how one incident or event can take someone's life down a very specific path. While it was interesting getting to see Ursula's life go in a couple very different directions, I was also fascinated by the very small differences that occurred in lives of Ursula's that were very similar to others, but for small changes that were interesting to discover.
I enjoyed this book in a similar way to Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. I felt that even though there were elements of both author's works that were fantastic in some way (time travel in the case of Willis' books, and repeated reincarnation in the case of Atkinson's) it was easy for the reader to get a strong idea of what it was like to live in that time period and in those places.
The narrator was a perfect fit for this book. From the beginning it felt like the exact right person was telling this story.
I will most definitely be seeking out more books by this author, and would gladly listen to this narrator read to me again.
Atkinson is one of my favorite writers. I read this novel and listened to it at the same time. For those unused to jumps in time, the storytelling may be tricky to follow in audio alone. But once one gets the gist of how the narrative works, it ought to be fine.
I found Life After Life a bit of a slog to get through (one month from start to finish), but not necessarily an unrewarding one.
I completely understand why this book polarises opinion. On the one hand, it's beautifully written and really does swoop the reader up and take them to another time and place (or should that be many times and places?). On the other hand it does get bogged down at certain places, and some parts seem irrelevant to the overall story.
A million other reviews detail the plot so I'll sum it up by suggesting it's a strange brew of staunch British costume drama with Groundhog Day, Sliding Doors and a dash of 11.22.63.
I found myself after finishing the book last night having to actively STOP thinking about it as the infinite possibilities the cheeky penultimate scene in the book suggested was melting my mind. ("Snip snip, practise makes perfect....") That scene both swayed my flagging, so-so opinion of the book and shattered my puny human brain.... (That's a compliment by the way.)
Life After Life is brilliantly narrated by Fenella Woolgar, but I suspect that had I read this book "old skool" on the printed page, I might not have had the patience to finish it when slogging through the "boring" bits.
Life after Life is very much well worth the read as it is one of those stories that will linger with you for days after finishing - but for the easily bored amongst us, you'll need to be prepared to dig in and see it through to the end.
This was a horrible book. I can usually get through a book this size in a weeks time at the maximum. This took me two and a half weeks. I had to struggle to the end, and it was the worst let down in my literary history.
Writing exquisite. Creativity of story line most unusual. Reader delightful. A gem about war, family, integrity.
I liked the book in general though the ending wasn't satisfying. Not enough plot devoted toward the awareness and then execution of the heroine's special abilities, especially considering that's a main talking pound about the book. But I did enjoy the leadup and slow subtle reveals of the details of her lives as they unfolded and refolded. Beautiful writing, nuanced characters.
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