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Life After Life [Kindle Edition]

Kate Atkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,926 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

WINNER OF THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD


What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?



During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.



During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.



What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?



Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.


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Review

"There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound. Wildly inventive, deeply felt. Hilarious. Humane. Simply put: it's one of the best novels I've read this century."--Gillian Flynn, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and for the Costa Novel Award, Kate Atkinson's stunning new novel, about a woman who lives through the most turbulent events of the 20th century, including the London Blitz, and which asks: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1096 KB
  • Print Length: 545 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AQIFNGM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,926 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #252 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her latest novel Life After Life was shortlisted for the Women's (formerly Orange) Prize, the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Award, and won the 2014 Costa Novel Award. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

Photography © Martin Hunter

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a treat! What a craftsmanship! 10 July 2014
By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
What a treat "Life After Life" was (especially after boring The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike)!) It's such a magnificent, beautifully written, utterly absorbing novel; the fact that it's around 500 pages long did not matter once I was immersed in the magical narrative.

So, this is a story (almost a saga) of a family the Todds, and particularly of Ursula Todd, a girl born during the storm in February 1910, who lives through the twentieth century witnessing some of the important events of our history. It's a tale of life, loss and rebirth. Ursula (who is very lovable, in fact, all her family are adorable, except perhaps for one member) meets her death at a number of times during the book through accidents, sickness and sometimes through violent death. Sometimes death comes sooner than I hoped, but at all times you can almost sense the presence of Grim Reaper somewhere close to the Todds family (and how unlucky can Ursula be if the death is waiting for her behind almost every corner!). But each time, when the death claims Ursula, the story rewinds straight to the beginning, but is told from a slightly different angle (the repetitions are limited). Kate Atkinson works the minutiae and details differently each time, adding more colours to the narrative, sometimes just a detail or two, sometimes the whole "beginning" is told differently. For me it all was entirely absorbing. And what a craftsmanship!

I must admit, I felt a little bit tired towards the end with the way the story progressed, but it did not spoil my impression of "Life After Life". I think it one of the best books I read this year, profound, inventive and compelling, beautifully written by a talented author.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Feeling like a freakish dissenter 25 Jun. 2014
By CLA
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am SUCH a Kate Atkinson fan and have devoured, adored and re-read everything she has written before. So, it was with a sense of fevered anticipation I launched into 'Life After Life' especially after reading the corking endorsements and quotations from literary greats and critics.

But I actively disliked it and it left me completely cold. Whilst the central idea of Ursula's being born, making decisions about her life, dying and being re-born to make different decisions is fantastic, for me personally, it just didn't work. I found myself unable to identify with Ursula as a complex, rounded character and so I didn't really care what happened to her. There was no sufficient link or context for me before we got to each crucial decision that would lead to her death this time round and so I hadn't engaged emotionally with her journey. So I didn't care. The characters around her were one dimensional ciphers - only there to provide a backdrop for her next death and so I didn't believe in or engage with any of them. The section in Germany was the weakest for me and the one I had most interest in and hope for initially - but it just was not convincing at all. The best parts were concerning the Blitz which were beautiful, moving and illuminating descriptions of an event most of us know very little about and I found myself thoroughly engaged with those section.

I appear to be in a very small club of people who did not enjoy this; I think Kate Atkinson is a fabulous writer but this is not typical of her style (I missed the hilarious, colourful, brilliantly drawn characters, breathless pace and fantastic storytelling). I can't remember when I was last so disappointed.
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167 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book 17 Jun. 2013
By Bron
Format:Kindle Edition
A seemingly small event can change the direction of a life completely: a chance encounter with a stranger who harms you or a conversation that detains you which means you miss bumping into the person, a meeting with the German you fall in love with and marry or being helped up from a fall by an Englishman. Life is full of moments which change the direction a person travels in and we have all wished we could go back and change something, or do it over again in a different way. And Life After Life explores this theme intricately, with sympathy, compassion and superb writing and plotting.

Ursula keeps being born, in 1910, living, dying and being born again within the same family but her decisions and reactions to events change, sometime nudged by a sense that something must be avoided at all costs, and her life keeps going off in different directions as she lives through the turbulent events of the first half of the 20th century. Sometimes you desperately want her to die so that a particular cycle will end and in others you want her to fight through and succeed.

Atkinson crafts Ursula's repeated lives beautifully and you are with her, rooting for her, in every one. But it is not just Ursula we get to know through her successive lives but also her family, friends, brief acquaintances and villains. We see not only the different directions Ursula takes but the impact of life and events on the people around her. Even the characters who make brief appearances are rich with detail and the main characters continue to grow through Ursula's lives along with our greater intimacy with Ursula herself. How many times can we read of a character being born? Well the answer is many times and still never be tired of it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed by the ending
Not my usual type of book but was encouraged to try it. Got used to the time toing and froing but not enough actually happened in some sections, for me. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Kezza68
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and pointless
There might have been a reasonable family drama in there somewhere but it got smashed in the debris of this fractured book. Read more
Published 3 days ago by K. D. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully written and thought-provoking
Published 3 days ago by ann duggan
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This book is terrible, a good concept but badly executed - tiresome to read
Published 3 days ago by Mr RB
2.0 out of 5 stars Death after death
A disappointing read. The novel takes up theme that (to quote one of the characters) 'History is all about what ifs'. Read more
Published 6 days ago by constable59
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have done with some editing (possible spoilers).
I was rather taken by the concept of this book but I think the execution was a bit of a mixed bag. One of the aspects of the narrative I enjoyed was the idea that Ursula had... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Eclectichick
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't think I got it
Having read all the great reviews I was hoping for great things from this book. I have to confess I found the book quite confusing a laboured. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Curly Chrissy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyable
Published 10 days ago by Star Bright
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fabulous author
Published 11 days ago by Polly S
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
on my list to read
Published 11 days ago by penname1
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