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Life After Life

Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
Series: Todd Family, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Here is Kate Atkinson at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, she finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past.

©2013 Kate Atkinson (P)2018 Bond Street Books

Critic Reviews

Long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

"Don't make the mistake of thinking that the novel itself is anything other than illuminating.... The book transcends its subject matter to become a treatise on how to be human.... Art is long and life is short, but not too short to treat yourself to the pleasures of Kate Atkinson's prose along the way." (The Globe and Mail)

 "Gripping... Breathless.... A masterful balancing act. Atkinson keeps the reader...constantly on edge, expecting the darkness to fall at any moment.... Life After Life is funny, thought-provoking and poignant. It combines the charms of hearth and home with the ravages of wartime. It's a love letter to a certain kind of English life but also as engrossing as a thriller."(Winnipeg Free Press)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada
  • 08-21-19

A sort of P&P with time travel

I'm not sure if it's because of the language, the rather flat characters, or looping style of writing but I couldn't manage to get into this book.

The idea of repeating lives multiple times and learning from their mistakes is something I've read about multiple times and have usually enjoyed it, but this novel doesn't really focus on it. Instead we're given highlights of someones life and I found myself confused when someone who was dead moments ago was talking again during the next chapter. I was so lost that I had to actually read a few reviews before I could really even understand what was happening.

In the end, if you're looking for an exciting time travel book then you should give this one a pass, but if you're looking for something like pride and prejudice with a little bit of a kick, then this book may be for you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Waited for US release for years

It's beautiful so far, 2/3rd through. Sad and funny and shocking - just like life..and if you believe in reincarnation as I do, the story is understandable and poignant. Unless it devolves into some kind of Eckhart Tolle bizarro world, I don't understand the lukewarm reviews. I can't stop listening. Narrator is amazing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Rinse & repeat (again and again)

My book club group was not impressed with the story, but we all enjoyed the narrator. Loved the use of language, the narrator's differentiation of character voices and the narrator's pronunciation of the various instances of French and German.