Life After Life

Life After Life

A Novel

Book - 2013
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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
Branch Call Number: FICTION ATKINSON 2013
Characteristics: xi, 529 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Join the discussion on January 8, 2019.

Join the discussion on January 3, 2019.

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".

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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LibrarianMariya Jan 03, 2019

Life After Life – Does the course of your life depend on fate or do you have control based on the choices you make? Ursula Todd is born on a snowy winter day in 1910 .. and then dies before she can take a breath. Or does she? The very same day, she is born, the doctor arrives in time, and Ursula lives. We follow Ursula’s childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as Kate Atkinson weaves in key historical events from the early to mid 20th century – World War I, the Spanish influenza epidemic, and then World War II, both in London during the Blitz and Germany in the ‘30s and ‘40s. We witness Ursula’s birth and death over and over again — in each timeline she makes different decisions that lead to wildly different life paths. Or is it fate acting upon her? A highly enjoyable read for fans of British historical fiction and alternative histories. The audiobook, read by Fenella Woolgar, brings the characters to life. (Submitted by Beth)

Dec 28, 2018

The only things that interests me in this book is the heroine’s ability to go back in time every time she dies, which means she gets to live forever with different stories and endings. This novel reverts European people’s life around two world wars with vivid description. However, this book is really long, which made it difficult for me to finish. Further more, there are a lot of foreign words like French and German that are hard to understand. All in all, it’s a book with interesting setting yet I find it hard to keep reading. 3/5 Stars. @Vayne of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

HCL_staff_reviews Dec 26, 2018

I have intended to read a Kate Atkinson novel for a long time after hearing so many people sing her praises. I finally picked up the audiobook Life After Life. After listening to a few discs, I was hooked. The theme is reincarnation and the writing is absolutely stunning. I have never read a novel like this one. Ursula Todd is born in 1910 on a snowy night and dies at delivery. Then she is reborn again and again. Each of her lives is different, although she always has the same family. A fascinating and original novel. — Kim B., Ridgedale Library

Jan 28, 2018

Stopped reading, too slow and jumped around too much!

Sep 24, 2017

A clever book! It was a very interesting read. Some of the elements are repetitive with variation, and each scenario of the main character's life is very surprising. The climax brought everything together and ultimately gave way for a new version of her life that was very interesting. I will definitely read the author's other books, especially the companion to this book!

CircMary Aug 01, 2017

What a clever concept - not exactly time travel, but it made the wheels of my mind start spinning in the same way. We all wonder "what if I had done this instead of that?" Kate Atkinson has a wild imagination. I enjoyed the ride. This is one of my most highly recommended books for Library patrons.

Jul 30, 2017

I read this book a few years ago and still think about it today. I loved this book! I had to start again when I got to the second beginning birth. I thought did I missed something? I was hooked! What a great writing style to the story. I do have a question for those that read this book and loved it.
At the end: could this be all along about her brother?

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.

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.

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!

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Sep 14, 2015

Life is too precious to be unhappy.

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.

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."

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!!!!

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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Mar 10, 2014

dkilrain thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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