Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
My rating ✰3✰
Picture and Quote from Goodreads
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.
Trigger warnings for alcoholism, rape, domestic abuse, etc.
I’m not sure what I expected from this book, but it was not what I got. This book follows Ursula as she lives and dies her life over and over again with small changes. In one instance she dies before being fully born and in other story lines she dies in other various ways at various ages. The first thing that surprised me was that I wasn’t sad when she died. I knew she would be back on the next page so what did it matter. What did make me sad however was how terrible her life was the longer she lived. I found myself thinking with each new life that the way she died young and happy in the other versions of her story would have been better for her. Eventually she seemed to figure out her purpose, but I’m still not sure which version was actually the final version of Ursula. And I don’t know why we ended on the character we did. I felt sad and confused for most of the book. It was a long slog of a read for me. I enjoyed the writing, but historical fiction is just not for me. I gave this book ✰3✰ and will certainly not be rushing to read the other book in the series right away. It seems to be a more straightforward story though so I may enjoy it more.