27 May 2013


by Kate Atkinson

I’ve just finished reading Kate Atkinson’s new book, Life After Life.  It’s an unconventional story about a girl who lives different parts of her life over again.  I wouldn’t say that it’s about reincarnation, although I must admit, it has left me wondering how, exactly, to describe what’s happening in this story.
Confused?  Let me try to explain.
Ursula Todd starts out life in 1910 and promptly dies.  She then starts out life again, also in 1910, and this time she survives. This sets the pattern for this book that presents a kaleidoscope of possibilities.
I started to think that the author was just presenting different scenarios of the same situations, but as the story continues, it’s clear that, at times, Ursula does experience déjà vu.  Although, having said that, it’s never made clear to the reader whether she remembers her previous lives.  This creates an atmosphere of mystery.  At least it did for me.
It’s a rich story filled with the most wonderful characters, all interesting and unique.  The story continues on through the First World War, the 1920-30s and into the Second World War where Ursula, now in her thirties, experiences the London Blitz.  And so does the reader.  It’s so marvellously written that I felt I was watching a movie.  Hats off to Kate Atkinson’s wonderful writing!
This is a thought provoking book because it shows how the different choices we make in life, however large or small, create totally different outcomes.  I enjoyed it very much even if I am left with a certain sense of confusion.  I think I’ll read it again!

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  1. Sounds like my 'cup of tea' Anna. Thanks for sharing

  2. Jill, this sounds like a very interesting book on a subject that has long interested me, reincarnation. It simply sounds like the ideal explanation for life after death. I think if more folks believed they might come back, perhaps we would be a little more careful with how we pollute earth.

    1. I agree, Anna. Folks would want to return to a well kept planet. As I mentioned in my review - a thought provoking book. What if....