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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Posted by Emma on October 30, 2019

Reviewed by Emma

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

For Ursula Todd, death is not the end, it is merely the beginning. She dies, only to be born again at the same time, in the same place.  But each time she comes back, things are slightly different. In the beginning, Ursula does not realize that this is happening to her, but instead experiences vivid moments of deja-vu and she can sense danger before it occurs.

This book was very well-written and it was so interesting to read of how the seemingly smallest, most simple decisions end up leading to the biggest changes in a person's future. And sometimes what seems to be a good decision leads to a bad outcome (and vice-versa.)  Nothing in life is certain.

Atkinson really makes you think about how day-to-day choices can have dramatic effects on the rest of your life. The structure of the novel is complex (and confusing at times) but I believe the author is brilliant.  I had read quite a few of Atkinson's previous works, mainly her crime fiction featuring Jackson Brodie, but this is truly her masterpiece, an epic family saga on a large scale. Her knowledge of European history is extensive, and the reader gets to live so many lives along with the Ursula, the protagonist, from the countrysides of England in the early 20th Century through both World Wars. 

I highly recommend this novel; although it is considerable in length, it is a fascinating read. 

Place a hold on Life After Life.

There is also a follow-up novel, A God in Ruins.

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