I literally just finished reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. This novel is my first Random House Read for April. I was a little apprehensive to choose this novel because of all the hype surrounding it but I’m happy to report that although it took a bit to get into, Life After Life lived up to the hype!
The novel begins on a snowy February in England 1910, a little girl is born and dies before she takes her first breath. The second chapter begins the same way, the same little girl is born in February 1910 but this time Ursula Todd lives. What an incredible thing to live life over and over again, with the ability to change your destiny (or your past). What would YOU change if you could live your life over and over again until you lived it ‘right’?
Kate Atkinson has such brilliant, smooth, and detailed writing. She created a wonderful main character and an incredibly diverse family. I adored all of the Todds (except maybe Sylvie and Maurice but they’re written to be disliked it seems). I fell for Teddy and envied Ursula’s relationship with her brother. I loved Aunt Izzie’s carefree and straightforward personality and mostly I loved Hugh (Ursula’s father) and the love he always showed his little oddball, Ursula.
It was interesting to go back-and-forth in time — I’m a huge fan of historical fiction and this book definitely satisfied my appetite for it. I was especially engrossed in the chapters regarding World War II and the different ways Ursula experienced it. It was incredible to be apart of all the different lives Ursula lived. The way she used her déjà vu to make changes in her next life was amazing. As each paged turned, my heartbeat quickened. I was constantly anxious to find out what life she would lead next and IF she would survive it.
“It had been a terrifying adventure, a dark night in the forest, but one which, like any good heroine, she had survived.” (Page 166)
Life After Life came out April 2nd and I urge you to pick up a copy if you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking, suspenseful, and interesting read.
SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)
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.