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 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.
I could listen to Fenella Woolgar read the text on a cereal box and I would be utterly rapt. Her voice can insinuate a multitude of complexities in the most simple sentence. The story was very good but made superlative by the most amazing narrator imaginable. She is beyond brilliant.
The satisfying thought that given enough chances it is possible to get life right. Just when you are reduced to tears you start again. Wonderful book beautifully written. Thoughts not usually voiced - are.
I love a good story. Audible allows me to be outside, hiking and walking and keeping up on great literature.
I loved the twists and turns, and simply the whole premise of the story. It took a little to get into at first, but I quickly became enthralled.
I still don't know I how I feel about this book. It took me forever to finish, because I could not get invested in the story for the first several hours. If you can make it through the first 10 hrs of audio, the story does begin to pick up. I am, however, tempted to listen to the book again or read the print version, because I am sure there are things I missed that would maybe help explain the story better. Or maybe not. Maybe there is no answer, but I do feel like I can know listen to A God in Ruins which has gotten more positive reviews, but of course I had to listen to the original before I could read the sequel.
Like one of the reviews I read before reading the book (which should've been a clue for me), this book was full of lovely writing, but it just bored me--Groundhog Day. The characters were not all that likeable, nor did the scenes consume me, not the first time, & certainly not the fifth! I feel like an outsider given the solidly positive reviews a plenty, but I know what I like & it's not this book.
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