Friday, June 6, 2014

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

"What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right?  Wouldn't that be wonderful?"

Goodreads Summary: On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, 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 any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

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This was somewhat of a difficult novel for me.  It was a bit confusing and I wasn't sure I "got" everything. Even though I struggled to get through it at times, there were many things that I loved about this book.  I read a lot of books, and I sometimes find myself reading the "same story" over and over again.  Kate Atkinson managed to take a simple concept (being born over and over again into the same life) and create a unique and complex story.

Each time Ursula is reborn, her life takes a slightly different path.  She managed to avoid one disaster after another, but then ends up with a different problem. I kept hoping that Ursula would finally "get it right," but that wasn't really the goal of the story. This novel is more about life more than anything and how it is effected by the everyday choices that we make.  I also loved the the novel was set in England during both World War I and II.  Usually books tend to focus on one war or the other.  I also really loved all of the different characters that Atkinson created to weave in and out of Ursula's life.

This book was #8 on my top ten list of 2014.

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