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Life After Life: A Novel | [Kate Atkinson]

Life After Life: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    patricia United States 09-18-13
    patricia United States 09-18-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Such a great story!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Life After Life the most enjoyable?

    It was unique and very interesting in the historical sense.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ursula. She went through so much but learned from her experiences and sought to make the world a better place.


    What does Fenella Woolgar bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The British feel


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Her love for her brother Jimmy at many points in the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Richmond, CA, United States 09-13-13
    Stephanie Richmond, CA, United States 09-13-13 Member Since 2009
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    "My book of the year!"

    I'm curious to see if someone else can come up with a more original, more engaging premise for a book in 2013. Praised by Gillian ("Gone Girl") Flynn as the book she herself wished she had written. Can't wait to listen to it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Chapel Hill, NC, United States 09-13-13
    Clare Chapel Hill, NC, United States 09-13-13 Member Since 2011

    I am a dancer, health professional, meditator and avid reader. I listen to audio books while driving, working out and doing chores. I listen to non-fiction more than fiction, but enjoy both. I like books I can learn from or be inspired by. I post my favorites on Pintrest.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I loved the book. It is like the butterfly effect"
    If you could sum up Life After Life in three words, what would they be?

    Change the story


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story makes you think. What would you do if? How would your own story be different if you had went this way vs that, or responded this way instead of that. The story takes place in England during the first and second world wars. If you enjoy history from that period you will enjoy it more. The main character asks questions and thinks about the meaning of life, and her beliefs in the backdrop of war. If you like thinking about those kinds of questions, you will enjoy the book.


    What does Fenella Woolgar bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her voice is lovely and carries you into the story. There are times where German is spoken and she does this well. She conveys the feelings of the character, making the actions of the character more understandable.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were so many moving places, it is hard to say one. The stories related to being in the bomb shelters during the blitz in England during WWII got me the most. Images the author paints in your mind come into view slowly, like a fog clearing, and once you see, a simple dress takes on a whole new meaning.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very different book. The story is told and retold with different possiblities. It takes a little getting used to at first. The author ties elements in that helps it make sense, and makes you realize, that one change, changed everything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Ojai, CA United States 09-10-13
    Nancy Ojai, CA United States 09-10-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Love the writing and the narrator"
    Would you listen to Life After Life again? Why?

    Yes, the story is so intriguing and clever I would listen again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing and the characters so beautifully told.


    What about Fenella Woolgar’s performance did you like?

    I've listened to over 100 books and Fenella Woolgar's British accent, German accents and French accents are the best I've ever heard. I would listen to anything she reads! What a talent!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Her marriage was very disturbing and so were the WWII descriptions of survival.


    Any additional comments?

    I found the book totally fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arlene berkeley, CA, United States 09-05-13
    Arlene berkeley, CA, United States 09-05-13 Member Since 2015
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    "terrible download"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The book was terrific.the download was so terrible that I couldn't bear to listen to it. I read it instead on my Kindle and loved it


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very unique. Making a point about life in a very creative way.It takes a while to catch on but once you do you are hooked


    Would you be willing to try another one of Fenella Woolgar’s performances?

    No. I dont know if it was the narrator or Aubile's fault that the sound was so terrible


    Any additional comments?

    How do i complain to Audible about a faulty download?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny 08-23-13
    Penny 08-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A best seller for good reason!"
    Any additional comments?

    I did not find this hard to follow, and I listen while exercising. But you do need to pay attention. It was a very compelling story and unlike any I have read before. I highly recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Martin, TN, United States 07-23-13
    Sue Martin, TN, United States 07-23-13
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    "An interesting premise, a tad confusing."
    What made the experience of listening to Life After Life the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Kate Atkinson again?

    Verdict is not in yet.


    Which character – as performed by Fenella Woolgar – was your favorite?

    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?


    If you could rename Life After Life, what would you call it?

    Second Chances. What if? How could I have made so many stupid choices and lived to tell about it?


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet H. Maddox 07-20-13
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    "Love Atkinson, but this one is tough."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa M. Ludwig Metairie, louisiana, United States 07-08-13
    Lisa M. Ludwig Metairie, louisiana, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2006

    booklover

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    "I really liked Life after Life...."
    Where does Life After Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 07-07-13
    Susan 07-07-13
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    "Beautifully written, amazing performance"
    What did you love best about Life After Life?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Life After Life?

    -------------------------SPOILER-----------------------------


    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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