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Life After Life [Kindle Edition]

Kate Atkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,890 customer reviews)

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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 (1,890 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #237 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
14 of 14 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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161 of 168 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still confused 5 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Although thought provoking and some of the characters were good, I'm still not sure about this book. I couldn't keep up with the hopping backwards and forwards and the end was very disappointing, as I was Hoping for more clarity. Maybe I'm just thick but I just didn't really get it and I'm very believing in reincarnation, I just couldn't figure out which life was which sometimes and got very confused. I would have liked Hugh 's character and his relationship with Ursula to be more developed, it was too much about Sylvie. Saying all that though I was intrigued and curious to find out what Ursula would be up to next and looked forward to reading it every night before bed. 50/50 on if I would recommend it or not, perhaps only to people with patience and perseverance
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5 of 5 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book.
Excellent and interesting story well written. Couldn't stop reading it.
Published 1 day ago by Susan Carter
2.0 out of 5 stars I have enjoyed previous novels by Kate Atkinson
I have enjoyed previous novels by Kate Atkinson, But I found it hard to motivate myself to finish this one. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Tess
5.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating and fascinating
But so enjoyable and sad and funny and interesting too! The best and most riveting read for me during 2014/15.
Published 1 day ago by Kcd Kinsella
3.0 out of 5 stars Theme and variations…. and then more variations… and on and on...
I love Atkinson's books in general but this one didn't work so well for me. So much of the story is repeated, time after time, as we work through possible-variations on one... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Dragon
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, well written and totally engaging.
Clever , well written and totally engaging.
Published 2 days ago by amanda harborne
3.0 out of 5 stars Certainly different....!
This story demands a complete and utter disregard for reality in order to stay with the plot, which - and I'm not giving anything away here! Read more
Published 4 days ago by Shirley Jane
4.0 out of 5 stars A stunning piece of work
I listened to this on audio and was both intrigued and irritated by the repetition at the beginning, when ‘getting it right’ seemed to equate simply to not dying. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Alison Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, thats makes you question life
What would you do if you could relive your life over and over again. This book is based around the life of Ursula Todd, where fate and family ties mould her life. Read more
Published 5 days ago by CleverPetals
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating premise & wonderful characters
Having not been particularly impressed with my first Kate Atkinson read, When Will There Be Good News, I have had Life After Life sitting on my Kindle for months unread as I kept... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Stephanie Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very thought-provoking. Couldn't put it down.
Published 6 days ago by Pat
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