Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - 529 pages
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.
My Review: 3.5 stars
This was an inventive, creative and exhaustive book as we read about the protagonist, Ursula, living life after life in a state of chronic deja vu. I was wholeheartedly sucked into this book and couldn’t put it down until about ⅔ of the way in, during WW2, I seemed to get bored and perhaps flat out tired of the brutality and madness of war. So then I understand without a doubt that the author did her job well by executing Ursula’s parallel or palimpsestic lives. (Yes, I learned what palimpsest meant from the book, the author has an incredible vocabulary!) I loved Ursula’s relationships with her siblings; even the horrible Maurice. Her cousin Izzie was a welcome break from the prim and proper British ideals. This book leaves you thinking for sometime as you ponder the possibility of this being real and wonder are we all are just reliving our lives amongst the same people especially when we feel the overpowering sense of deja vu?
Quotes I liked:
- “Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness.”
- “What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right? Wouldn't that be wonderful?”
- “I feel as if I’m waiting for something dreadful to happen, and then I realize it already has.”
-“There was always a second before the siren started when she was aware of a sound as yet unheard. It was like an echo, or rather the opposite of an echo. An echo came afterwards, but was there a word for what came before?”
- “It’s not as if love dies with the beloved.”
- “Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. If we all had it, there would be no history to write about.”
- “You couldn’t necessarily judge a woman by the man she slept with. (or could you?)”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, England
Labels: 2013, England, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction