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Life After Life (Signed, Limited Edition) Hardcover – 14 Mar 2013


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Hardcover, 14 Mar 2013
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (14 Mar. 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0857521837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857521835
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,838 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,108,973 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

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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

The limited, signed edition of 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?

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 154 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dot on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I need to start this review with an apology as I know that I will not be able to do this book justice, so sorry about that but please do read on as I want everyone to read this book!
My only other experience of Kate Atkinson was reading Behind the Scenes at the Museum for GCSE English literature. I didn't like it. Looking back, I think I was too young to appreciate the wonderful nuances of Kate Atkinson's writing. Sadly this has led me to steering clear of this author ever since; that was until I read the intriguing blurb for Life After Life.

Gillian Flynn is quoted as saying:
"One of the best novels I've read this century."
I have to say that I feel exactly the same way. I am never giving my copy up as I know it is going to be re-read many times.
The protagonist, Ursula Todd, is born again and again on 11th February 1910. She is born into the same family each time but her life varies greatly in each instance. For example, in one she doesn't even make it through the birth; in another she develops into a young woman who assassinates Hitler thus preventing the war; in another she is a down trodden housewife and then we also see her growing up to live in Germany during the war, even finding a place in Hitler's inner sanctum.
Life After Life is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It took me a good few chapters to get my head round the concept but once I had stopped questioning Ursula's constant rebirth, I was utterly gripped and swept away with the story. The concept though, cannot be ignored and I felt that whilst I was enjoying the story, the idea of reincarnation was constantly buzzing away in the background.
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305 of 327 people found the following review helpful By L. H. Healy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar. 2013
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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