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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

May 9, 2013

atkinson lifeafterlife eba38d0b5caf30178a305a2ba4e657e3fab371f6 300x225 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson mel malmbers book reviews Kate Atkinson book reviews by mel malmberg book reviews Author Kate Atkinson  photoThis is a stylish, thoughtful, engrossing novel, a meditation on consciousness and consequences. Ursula Todd, born to English upper class parents on a snowy night in 1910, is reborn and dies again and again, living through and with various incidents, chief among them World War II.

Some chapters are lengthy, some just a few paragraphs. All are in Atkinson’s best prose: sharp dialogue, well-drawn scenes, deep insights into characters. The beginning chapter sets the central conflict: Ursula assassinates Adolf Hitler in a cafe in 1930. But of course we all know that didn’t happen. HOW it didn’t come to happen is Atkinson’s central theme; WHY remains a mystery that we get closer to as we fall deeper into the novel’s spell: in the next chapter, Ursula is born and dies, choked by her own umbilical cord. In the next chapter, she lives, and so on.

This is a historical novel that is deeply modern, a novel that plunges you fully into sometimes kaleidoscopic scenes, never missing a beat while shifting from a leafy village to a dismal flat in post-war London. It is full of witty, fully-fleshed characters who rotate around the sometimes bemused, sometimes take-charge Ursula. We have all wondered, “What if…” I had taken that train, that class, that spouse…this novel answers those questions in a fascinating, absorbing read.

kate atkinson original 300x450 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson mel malmbers book reviews Kate Atkinson book reviews by mel malmberg book reviews Author Kate Atkinson  photo

Author Kate Atkinson




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