Tuesday, February 11, 2014


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Life After Life, Kate Atkinson, Little Brown and Company, 2013, 529 pp

A good deal of great writing kept me going in Life After Life but overall I was left feeling less than thrilled by the end. In fact, at the very end I was confused and had to talk it over with a couple reading friends.

Ursula Todd gets born in 1910, then she gets born again and again with different scenarios ensuing. It is kind of like that movie Ground Hog Day, without the humor. She also lives through various parts of her life several times and because of her choices ends up in better or worse states than other times.

Once I got used to not knowing when it was and to finding the clues to when it had been, I didn't mind the time shifts. Anyone who made it through The Time Traveler's Wife, a book I loved completely, can make it through this novel. Some parts were quite gripping, especially the section on the London Blitz in WWII. 

I liked Ursula's crazy aunt and the beloved brother. I didn't think Sylvie, Ursula's mother, quite hung together as a character.

I guess I liked the concept of the book better than the reading of it. It must have been fun to write. Of course, it all got me thinking about points in my life where I could have made different choices and thus have had a different life.

There you have it. A disjointed and inconclusive review, not unlike the novel itself. You are what you read? Most definitely! 

(Life After Life is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)


  1. I'm on the last disc of The Casual Vacancy and have this book set to start as soon as it's through. I'm usually a big fan of Kate Atkinson's. I love her Jackson Brodie books. Reading your description I think I've had this confused with Andrew Sean Greer's The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, which I started and then got confused by because I thought it was about something else entirely... now I see why.

    I'm sorry you didn't like it. Hopefully, the next book will make up for it.

    1. Interested to see what you thought of Casual Vacancy. As far as Atkinson goes, I think she should go back to Brodie or else yeah, we will see on the next book.