Life After Life

Life After Life

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
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"What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. 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 a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she? Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Reagan Arthur Books / Little, Brown and Company, 2013
Edition: First United States edition
ISBN: 9780316176484
0316176486
Branch Call Number: FICTION ATKINSON 2013
Characteristics: xi, 529 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? I loved the dreamy but precise writing in this book, which sometimes reminded me of Virginia Woolf. Also available in ebook.

Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best".

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. 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 ... Read More »

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right? On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. 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 ... Read More »

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multcolib_dianaa Mar 04, 2014

Ursula, born in her banker father's country estate in 1910, dies at birth in the book's first pages. Then she gets another chance, dying in many ways and then being born again. Atkinson had a wonderful idea and executed it very well, and the writing is the very best- reminding me sometimes of Vir... Read More »


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JCLAmandaW May 30, 2017

Every choice has a consequence that is far reaching. Ursula is able to relive her life with the hint of knowledge from previous lives; like the feelings of unexplained dread or deja vu. An intelligent and thoroughly engaging read.

k
karinmcgeorge
Apr 27, 2017

I found this a powerful and sad book. Sad because the pictures of two world wars seriously--if temporarily--undermined my illusion that everything's gonna be okay.
But there are worse things than feeling sad for humanity. And of course this book is chockablock full of love, beauty, sensitivity, and really good prose. Insights in almost every paragraph. I'm working on reading 2 more of Kate's.

c
cluhowy
Apr 07, 2017

Once I discover an author who is able to "hook me" from the 1st paragraph, I am driven to read every book written by that author. Atkinson has earned my approval and I've added her to my list of exceptional authors. Usually I don't make a habit of re-reading books (or watching movies a 2nd time) but in this case, I have already begun re-reading her books and I am still enjoying them as much as I did the 1st time around!

s
sheryl37
Feb 28, 2017

Favorite line from book about, Sugar cubes bouncing on floor like blind dice. ,

b
becker
Feb 25, 2017

The writing was beautiful and intelligent, the story was creative and unique and the characters were well developed....each one playing an important part in the story.

s
Soundreader
Feb 18, 2017

I was not instantly pulled into the story, however, after much reflection, I do not believe that was how Atkinson wanted her reader to enter the story. Many years later, after I came to the end, I find myself thinking of this book and the characters within it. She weaves a poignant and clever tale of the many lives of one person growing up in England during World War II. To me, it was the way the characters and each life changes by just living that much longer with each life that was the most intriguing aspect of this book. Well worth reading!

Harriet_the_Spy Dec 12, 2016

This book asks the question: are we all replaying our lives until one day we get them right? And just as we get it right, what happens when someone else gets it wrong? Can we stop wars? Can we save those we love? What is the best we can hope for? Not an upbeat read, but a strange and compelling take on learning through living.

s
spudwil
Sep 04, 2016

Really enjoyable book. I recommend it.

s
sungeun2k1
Aug 20, 2016

Clever idea and lovely writing, but otherwise underwhelming

k
kldreyer
Aug 16, 2016

I was sorry to come to the end of this fascinating, intricately crafted novel. I rarely re-read books, but flipped right back over to page one and began again-

One of my all-time favorites.

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Quotes

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k
kn1226
Sep 14, 2015

Life is too precious to be unhappy.

s
sheirapop1
Aug 05, 2015

"He's always been a politician. He was born a politician." No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.

n
nmullings
Jul 15, 2015

It's time she thought. A clock struck somewhere in sympathy. She thought of Teddy and Mrs. Woolf, of Roland and little Angela, of Nancy and Sylvie. She thought of Dr. Kellet and Pindar. Become such as you are, having learned what is. She knew what she was now. She was Ursula Beresford Todd and she was a witness.

debwalker Jul 08, 2014

Fur sie, fuhrer.

JCLJanineM Oct 28, 2013

"Darkness fell."

JCLJanineM Oct 28, 2013

"Home," it had struck her on the torturous drive back to London, wasn't Egerton Gardens, wasn't even Fox Corner. Home was an idea, and like Arcadia it was lost in the past."

b
becker
Jun 10, 2013

"They had triumphed over death this night. Sylvie wondered when death would seek his revenge."

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cindyhib Sep 09, 2014

ery Confusing!!!!

d
dkilrain
Mar 10, 2014

This is the first book I have read by this author. I will definitely read another book by her as her style of writing is great. However, this book was a bit hard to follow. The basic premise is to show what would happen if you could relive events in your life until you got them right. The concept is great, but a bit cumbersome in the execution. You end up having chapter after chapter of the same events happening with different outcomes. The net result is you are left with a story that has no real linear story as you aren't sure what this person's life really ended up being. In the end it seems there would be some sort of tying together of all the elements. However there was not, and the reader is left hanging in the air, which is frustrating slogging through a fairly dense book. This would be a great book for a book club though as there is lots of food for thought.

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d
dkilrain
Mar 10, 2014

dkilrain thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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