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Life After Life [Kindle Edition]

Kate Atkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,810 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.



Product Description

Review

"Kate Atkinson’s new novel is a box of delights. Ingenious in construction, indefatigably entertaining, it grips the reader’s imagination on the first page and never lets go. If you wish to be moved and astonished, read it. And if you want to give a dazzling present, buy it for your friends." (Hilary Mantel)

"

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,no1 New York Times author of Gone Girl, and Sharp Objects)

"Truly brilliant...Think of Audrey Niffenegger's The TimeTraveler's Wife or David Nicholl's One Day...[or] Martin Amis's Times Arrow, his rewinding of the Holocaust that was shortlisted for the Booker. Life After Life should have the popular success of the former and deserves to win prizes, too. It has that kind of thrill to it, of an already much-loved novelist taking a leap, and breaking through to the next level...This is a rare book that you want, Ursula-like, to start again the minute you have finished." (Helen Rumbelow The Times)

"What makes Atkinson an exceptional writer – and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date – is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us." (Alex Clark Guardian)

"Merging family saga with a fluid sense of time and an extraordinarily vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force." (Amber Pearson Daily Mail)

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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,810 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #896 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
148 of 153 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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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Life After Life follows a female protagonist, Ursula Tod from birth in 1910, through the different ways in which life would have unravelled if Ursula had died at various hair raising points in her life. A couple of World Wars, as well as other tragic scenarios, are involved, and you can't fault the detailed recreations of these grim times. Also intricate plotting is one Atkinson's strong points, and this skill is well put to use here to develop this complicated conceit of the different endings.

It's an interesting concept and if anyone was going to be the writer to pull it off, it would have been Kate Atkinson. However the overall result is a bit... technical. It throws the usual patterns of character development up into the air, so that while Hugh (Ursula's father), Pamela, Maurice and Teddy (the siblings) have pretty constant characteristics throughout, Ursula's mother and Ursula, for example, herself end up with some wildly varying characteristics in the different endings. This makes it difficult to identify with the main character or sympathise with her.

Some of the story branches are clearly cul-de-sacs early on in their development and go on for too long, and although I have to say that Atkinson does a good job with not making the actual gory endings too predictable, it's difficult for the reader to invest too much in a character when you know the end is nigh and a fresh one is on its way. Some of the endings too have Ursula come across as a bit passive - a litany of tragic events that propel her towards doom.

On the positive side, this will stay with you after you've finished it. Each plight of Ursula's is mapped out with Atkinson's trademark precise, almost detached prose, emphasising the catastrophic by contrasting it with the matter of fact.
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302 of 324 people found the following review helpful
By L. H. Healy TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
`Don't you wonder sometimes,' Ursula said. `If just one small thing had been changed, in the past, I mean....surely things would be different.'

I admit I am a big fan of Kate Atkinson's writing, having read most of her previous novels, with a particular fondness for the Jackson Brodie stories, my favourite probably being `When Will There Be Good News?'. I was therefore so excited to hear about a new novel coming from her and filled with great anticipation upon starting to read.

Life After Life didn't disappoint me; I think this is a very special book in many ways. It is imbued with the sparkling prose and the dark humour that is so often evident in Kate Atkinson's works. But this book features something rather clever and wonderful in terms of the structure and storyline.

The main character, Ursula Todd is born in 1910, during a heavy snowstorm, but sadly dies immediately, there's no time for the doctor to reach her. Then we read that Ursula Todd is born in 1910 during a heavy snowstorm, and lives. She has another chance, another start at life, and this pattern, this unique quality, stays with her as she lives, and lives again, and changes the direction of her life, having chance after chance to get it just right. What a premise!

We accompany Ursula as she lives through many of the major events of the twentieth century, with her personal highs and lows recounted, then changed, as she has another chance at her life, and then another. She takes a different route, and a different course is set. Kate Atkinson writes of the personal experiences of one woman in a way that makes for compelling reading. I loved Ursula's family and thought they were also all vividly brought to life, in particular her mother Sylvie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, well-written but difficult to bring to a close
Typically for a Kate Atkinson book, Life After Life is engaging, entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jl Adcock
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ
Love her books and this didn't disappoint.
Published 2 days ago by anon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Original idea and enjoyable read.
Published 4 days ago by Kev Walford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best book I read in 2014. Such a good author
Published 4 days ago by MRS WENDY CROZIER
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this
Kate had me in a vice like grip from the very start. A great read and so touching.
Published 5 days ago by LFB
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is Kate Atkinson's best book since Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Published 5 days ago by E.M.F.
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating.
Found this book difficult to read as it kept jumping from one time scale to another and I got fed up of reading about the same person many times in different lives.
Published 5 days ago by Mrs. Brenda Leake
2.0 out of 5 stars Failed to live up to expectation
I just couldn't get into this book. For me, it didn't flow, and I just wasn't captured by the story. Read more
Published 5 days ago by ThePaiges
3.0 out of 5 stars ... on recommendation of my colleagues who had all thoroughly enjoyed...
Interestingly I purchased this on recommendation of my colleagues who had all thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 6 days ago by MS S AMATUZZI
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 6 days ago by Lissi
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