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Life After Life by [Atkinson, Kate]
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Life After Life Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2,309 customer reviews

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Review

PRAISE FOR LIFE AFTER LIFE "Kate Atkinson is a marvel. 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, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl

"Life After Life" is a masterpiece about how even the smallest choices can sometimes change the course of history. It's wise, bittersweet, funny, and unlike anything else you've ever read. Kate Atkinson is one of my all-time favorite novelists, and I believe this is her best book yet."--J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Maine" and Commencement"

PRAISE FOR LIFE AFTER LIFE

"Kate Atkinson is a marvel. 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, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl""

""Life After Life" is a masterpiece about how even the smallest choices can sometimes change the course of history. It's wise, bittersweet, funny, and unlike anything else you've ever read. Kate Atkinson is one of my all-time favorite novelists, and I believe this is her best book yet." "J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of "Maine" and "Commencement"""

"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, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies""

"An audacious, ambitious book that challenges notions of time, fate and free will, not to mention narrative plausibility...[Atkinson's] writing is funny and quirky and sharp and sad - calamity laced with humor - and full of quietly heroic characters who offer knowing Lorrie Moore-esque parenthetical asides...Atkinson's true genius is structure...Each version is entirely and equally credible." "Sarah Lyall, "New York Times"""

"An exercise in narrative gutsiness; a meditation on history, contingency, and free will; and the best new novel I've read this year." "Kathryn Schulz, "New York Magazine"""

"[Atkinson's] latest novel, "Life After Life", is her very best... A big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author's fully untethered imagination... Even without the sleight of hand, "Life After Life" would be an exceptionally captivating book with an engaging cast of characters... [Atkinson's] own writerly cradle was rocked by a very sure hand indeed." "Janet Maslin, "New York Times"""

"Audacious, the kind of sweeping virtuoso epic that actually earns overheated book-jacket phrases like 'tour de force!'...Atkinson is a fantastic storyteller... It's all so richly imagined and ingeniously executed that the mystery feels right. Her domestic vignettes and wide-screen portraits of wartime resonate with startling physical and emotional clarity, and even her repetitions find fresh revelations... What Atkinson has mastered: shining a light on how full life is of choices and chance, and how lucky we are to live it." "Leah Greenblatt, "Entertainment Weekly"""

"Fascinating... A tour de force that ponders memory and deja vu-and puts history on a very human scale." ""Parade"""

"[Atkinson] is nothing if not clever...A fine writer...filling the pages with a liveliness and intelligence...Ursula's quest to 'get it right' gradually becomes less important than Atkinson's talent to create such an entertaining and suspenseful story that tells many versions of the history of the 20th century." "Bob Hoover, "The Minneapolis Star Tribune"""

"Ambitious...[Atkinson] can be playful and profound, an enjoyable storyteller as well as an artful writer...She gives us a complete picture of an upper-class British family as it moves into the modern era, and in such a way that we are left sifting through the many turns a life can take and contemplating the consequences thereof." "Sherryl Connelly, "New York Daily News"""

"Audacious and darkly mysterious...Atkinson is a master of structure...A sense of dread but also one of hope infuse the novel...Even the canniest reader can't predict what will happen next, so the long novel remains absorbing until its end. It lightly raises questions about the meaning of life and death and identify, fate and chance, and leaves them unanswered to echo in the reader's mind after the final page." "Margaret Quamme, "Columbus Dispatch"""

""Life After Life "is a hypnotic dance of causality and chance, in which Ursula makes genuine progress...["Life After Life"] displays...trapeze-artist panache, releasing plotlines into the oblivion of one past life only to retrieve them, to the reader's appreciative gasps, in a later one...It's rich in the gravity and texture of reality... Marvelously vibrant...Atkinson makes every one of Ursula's lives, as well as the lives of those she touches, feel inestimably precious." "Laura Miller, "Salon"""

"A densely layered, century-sprawling work that is a formidable bid for the brass ring of the U.K.'s prestigious Man Booker Prize. "Life After Life "is a drama of failures and providential rebirths...High-concept premise...A deft and convincing portrayal of an English family's evolution across two world wars...Marvelous...Not only does she bring characters to life with enviable ease, she has an almost offhand knack for vivid scene-setting ...Her storytelling prowess is on fullest display in a gorgeous and nerve-racking novella-length chapter set during the Blitz ... It's spellbindingly done." "Sam Sacks, "The Wall Street Journal"""

"Delightfully precocious and darkly moody... Revealing and straightforward... Originality is the jumping-off point for this especially unique novel, and readers looking for something fresh should take a chance. Readers already in love with Atkinson's novels, and equally besotted with Jackson Brodie, will be just as pleased with the life - the lives - of Ursula Todd." "Carol Memmott, USA Today""

"Masterful...Atkinson not only invites readers in, she also asks them to give up their preconceptions of what a novel "should" be, and instead accept what a novel "can "be... What impresses me about this flip book of nonstop scenarios - in wartime and peacetime - is not only how absorbing they are, but how brave Atkinson is to have written them. After all, there really isn't much recent precedent for a major, serious yet playfully experimental novel with a female character at its center. Good for her to have given us one; we needed it...She opened her novel outward, letting it breathe unrestricted, all the while creating a strong, inviting draft of something that feels remarkably like life." "Meg Wolitzer, "NPR.org"""

"Gripping and sophisticated...Enthralling...[Atkinson] deftly captures the cruel frailty of life with judicious compassion...No writer alive makes for better company on the page-knowing, funny, and prodigally inventive: Ursula is a magnificent creation, but dozens of finely drawn secondary characters (her bohemian Aunt Izzie alone would make this book worth reading) force her to fight for the spotlight on every page...Unflaggingly curious and unfailingly open-minded, Atkinson is like some great snoop, prowling among life's mysteries, turning the commonplace inside out...Literary and entertaining all at once, Atkinson is a sophisticated artist who also can keep you up well past bedtime, and that double-barreled talent is on display as never before in Life After Life. My first reaction upon finishing it was to imitate the unsinkable Ursula and begin all over again." "Malcolm Jones, "The Daily Beast"""

"Atkinson has turned a high-concept conceit into an intricately crafted, totally engaging new novel...Atkinson combines the cleverness of metafiction with the warmth and detail of period fiction for an end result that is satisfyingly original." "Yvonne Zipp, "Christian Science Monitor"""

"Atkinson has a knack for puzzle-making...creating a series of narrative fragments that cohere into a breathtaking whole...By the final chapters, it's clear that Ursula is gaining on something much bigger than any of her lives: a true calling. Watching that pursuit is frequently heartbreaking and entirely thrilling." "Katie Arnold-Ratliff, "Time"""

"Inventive...This ingenious narrative conceit not only illustrates how seemingly small decisions can affect our lives, it also allows us as readers to inhabit a novelist's creative process...Atkinson has crafted a narrative that pushes us to think about our own choices... Some of Ursula's narratives are so compelling, so convincing, that it is hard to imagine her ending up any other way." "Carolyn Kellogg, "Los Angeles Times"""

"Life After Life is dark and funny and suspenseful and sad all at the same time." "Emily Ecton, NPR (Great Reads of 2013)""

"It is in the depiction of Ursula's loving yet contentious family that "Life After Life "truly shines...a dazzling, intricate and entertaining novel." "Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle""

"A thoroughly entertaining, periodically moving read, and a wholly unique addition ... Atkinson never so much as flirts with pathos; her ethos and heroine are as unsentimental as the times require." "Eugenia Williamson, Boston Globe""

"Sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. "Life After Life" is a dazzling juggling act...(by all means, read this book)." "Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times""

"You can't put down Life After Life until you finish it, and then I suggest you read it a second time." "Bob Hoover, Dallas Morning News""

"Dazzling...the fantasy behind that reality turns out to be rivetingly complex." "Karen Holt, O, the Oprah Magazine""

"I cannot recommend this book enough. It's nothing short of a genre-bending masterpiece - thoughtful and compelling, convoluted in plot but clear in resolve. If I had many lifetimes, I would make sure to read Life After Life in each." "Kevin Nguyen, Grantland""

PRAISE FOR LIFE AFTER LIFE
"Kate Atkinson is a marvel. 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, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl""

"[Atkinson's] latest novel, "Life After Life," is her very best... A big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author's fully untethered imagination... Even without the sleight of hand, "Life After Life" would be an exceptionally captivating book with an engaging cast of characters... [Atkinson's] own writerly cradle was rocked by a very sure hand indeed." "Janet Maslin, "New York Times"""

"The Blitz segments vibrate with life, as vivid and horrifying as a series of glimpses into a charnel house...The natural exuberance of Atkinson's prose is brought into sharp, precise control. Buried inside "Life After Life" is the best Blitz novel since Sarah Waters's "The Night Watch."" "Steve Donoghue, "The Washington Post"""

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: 1461 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
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2,309 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,980 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A little confusing at first, but one soon gets the idea: this is telling the several lives of Ursula Todd – each life being cut short by her death, and starting all over again until she meets a different kind of death. That’s quite an ingenious idea, though I have to say that in the end, apart from the ingenuity, I could not see the point of it. Ursula does not learn anything from her previous lives and does not try to avoid situations such as those that led to her deaths. She does frequently have a sense of déja vu, when she remembers with terror some of the moments before her previous deaths; and in one of her lives she is sent to a psychiatrist in the hope that he could cure her of her anxieties. The psychiatrist is interested in Buddhism and mutters something about reincarnation; and once in a while some of the characters muse about how differently things would have turned out if some event had or had not happened. These occasional reflections are meant to be keys to the idea behind the book. Even so, the novel just seems to be made up of some dozen novellas.

The effect of this device is that the reader will wonder all the time how each life is going to end. For me the result was that, for all the quality of the writing, whether humorous or terrifying, I was initially somewhat impatient reading about what happened before each death. Not always, though, especially not in the later, longer chapters (there is a great variety in length) when the scenes in Ursula’s life, unrelated to the deaths at the end, are so well done that I would forget thinking about the inevitable end.

Kate Atkinson skilfully evokes the changing atmosphere of England between 1910, when Ursula was born and 1967 when she met the last of her deaths.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Life after life" is the kind of book you hope to encounter whenever you pickup a novel for the first time. I had read the follow up "A god in ruins" not knowing what to expect and was engrossed in that novel to the extent that there was a sharp intake of breath when I ultimately got to the end. . Whilst this book covers the fate of the same family and even covers much of the same time line, both can be read on their own. However, having read either of the two, there is a fair chance of wanting to read the other. Intriguingly, there are little elements within this first volume which I cannot recall getting answered in the second and I would be very keen to read a third novel about the Todd family.

Simply put, this novel takes the notion of having different possibilities open to you throughout life and puts the main protagonist in amongst a wealth of alternatives, the principle storyline looking at the Second World war through both an English and German perspective. The idea may seem too eccentric to work but Kate Atkinson pulls the ideas off with aplomb.

For me, there are two elements of great story telling. There first is to create such strong characters that we know who they are when speaking because their voices come out so strongly in the dialogue. All the characters in this book are terrific , whether it is the flaky Irish housemaid Bridget or my particular favourite, the incorrigible aunt and authoress, Izzy who surely deserves a book of her own. The other component is having the sensation of being plunged in to a world where the people and places seem real and who you feel sad to leave behind when you finish the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The strapline for the book asks the question: "What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?", leading me to believe that the answer would lie somewhere in its pages. If it does, perhaps I missed it, because I finished the book feeling like it was unanswered and, not just unanswered, but also that I'd been taken on a wild goose chase to find that answer. About a week of post-book mulling later, the feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment remain.

Which is a shame, as there are some lovely moments of writing and life here. I found it an easy-to-read writing style that's harrowing, amusing and movingly poignant in places; the rest of the time felt a lot like waiting for the really good bit to happen, and it never did.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this was a brilliant book. The idea is not entirely original, but the way the different 'lives' were interwoven entranced me. And of course it is beautifully written, as usual with Kate Atkinson, with a wonderful blend of humour and pathos. she has a gift for capturing a character, an event, a trivial detail or a whole era in just a few well-chosen words. The book has stayed in ly mlind several weeks after finishing it. A great read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mixed feelings about meta-fiction, but this novel is undeniably very clever. Loved it even though I would recommend you read the two books in the correct order (which I didn't!) leave A God in Ruins til after this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A woman lives her life over and over again. Some of her lives take unexpected turns, but most of them are only slightly different, although small differences produce big changes. At the start, it was difficult to know where this book was leading, but Kate Atkinson is my favourite living writer, and I knew that she wouldn't take me anywhere I didn't want to go. Only a writer at the height of her powers could handle this material so flawlessly, but this is more than a bravura performance, rather it is a profound exploration of what determines the outcomes of someone's life. This doesn't have the narrative drive of some of her other books, but the power is in the breadth and depth of the writing. The fact that the central character is a rather ordinary woman adds to the power. I read long into the night to finish it, then I couldn't sleep for thinking about the amazing work of literature it had been my privilege to read. Simply brilliant.
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