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Life After Life Paperback – 1 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Export (1 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552779687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552779685
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 3.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,873 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 785,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Winner of the Costa Novel Award and shortlisted for the Women's Prize, 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? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Bron on 17 Jun. 2013
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 July 2014
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Faye Pacitto on 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 By Carlalovesreading on 20 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this as part of a book club group and although it was a good read, I found it strange in a few ways.
The beginning was confusing, there were so many characters, I found it difficult to get into the book straight away, it was one of those novels where you had to keep going as the storyline was captivating and I felt it would go somewhere.

That's the thing though that let's the book down for me. It didn't. The book got better as about a third of the way through I was getting bored of the same beginning over and over again but after a while, Ursula's life started back where it had left off. I felt that somewhere along the line, we would learn why this kept happening to her or why she started again at later stages of her life but this was something that we were never told (unless I have missed something). Her life story was obviously very interesting and I enjoyed hearing about the way things panned out differently depending on what she did or didn't do. Maybe that was the whole point, to lead to discussions as to whether this is the way life pans out for us all.

I enjoyed the book but certainly couldn't rate it any higher than average. If there had of been an ending that would have answered my questions then I certainly would have rated it higher. It's hard to review without giving any spoilers but the beginning of the book talks about someone with a shot gun who fires and when I got to this part at the ending, I thought that would be the whole point of the book and would then give some kind of reasoning behind it. Unfortunately, it then started again which made no sense to me and left me feeling a bit let down by the storyline.
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