Friday, June 14, 2013

Life After Life

Title:  Life After Life
Author:  Kate Atkinson
Publication Information:  Reagan Arthur Books. 2013. 544 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book based on a recommendation from a friend.

Favorite Quote:  "What a world of difference there was between dying and nearly dying. One's whole life, in fact."

Ursula is born in 1910. Ursula dies in childbirth. Ursula is born in 1910. Ursula survives childbirth but dies as a child. Ursula is born, but again dies as a child. Ursula is born and dies young. Ursula is born with with an inkling of things to come and attempts to save herself, but dies. Ursula is born......

So continues Life After Life. A story of one person not simply born again but born again and again and again into the same family and the same situation. Each time, her life takes a different tracks sometimes by chance and sometimes because she precipitates a change. A definitely different twist on a reincarnation story.

The twist and turns keep you guessing as to what might come next, but the question somewhat becomes "how will it be different this time?"  Given the fact that Ursula starts to have an inkling of her lives before, what will she do to change its course and what impact might it have on the world?

Through the story, we see different aspects of history - English family life in the 1900s, the role of women, World War I, and eventually World War II. A fascinating story. Just a bit too long for my taste. I found the book starting to drag and really slow down in the middle. I am glad I persevered to the end, but it was difficult at times.

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