Book Review: Life After Life


I kept seeing this book pop up on "Best of 2013" lists, so while I wasn't familiar with the author, I gave it a try. At over 520+ pages long, I admit this took me longer than usual to finish. But I was so glad I read it when I did- this writing is astounding and this is one of the most creative stories I've read in a very long time.

According to GoodReads...

"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.
Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions."

The book follows the life and multiple deaths of Ursula Todd. Born in 1910, Ursula dies multiple times throughout her childhood. We don't know why she continues to be reborn, and neither does she. All she knows is that something about her is different and she must take actions when these overwhelming feelings of imminent danger overcome her.

Over the course of the book, we see Ursula's life play out in several ways which is the most fun thing about it. One decision made differently saves the life of the family's maid, of the young neighbor girl, of herself. With each consequent life, we learn more about Ursula and get to see the "Butterfly effect" her decisions have in the lives of those around her.

At the end, we see Ursula take charge of her [lives] and attempt to alter the course of history. 

Although, this book was slow in parts and I wish the author had better developed some of the secondary characters, I was so impressed with the writing that I have to give it...

FIVE out of FIVE stars!

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Have you read Life After Life? What did you think?
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  1. This looks really interesting, adding to my list of books for my Kindle :)

  2. I recently read this book and liked it a lot. agree that it was sometimes slow but overall such an interesting read and made me think about the consequences of small and large choices in our lives. it was kind of a heavy read but I still really enjoyed it!
    -- jackie - jade and oak