Book Review – Life After Life

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday) ISBN: 9780385618687

Ursula Todd is born on 11 February 1910 and dies, strangled by the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. There is a terrible snowstorm and the doctor has not made it in time. But what if?

What if you could go back and start again? Atkinson rebirths Ursula again and again giving her the chance to get it right.

The book is filled with literary references which delighted the English Major in me. The snippets of French and German brought the era of the story alive. However, I found the sections dealing with the Blitz in London heavy-handed. I was appalled at how desensitised and bored I became with the repetition in this section. Less would have been more powerful, and it would have earned the book 5/5.

Atkinson is able to create the most complex, interesting, and fulfilling characters I’ve encountered for a while. Ursula’s mother, Sylvie, is a compelling creation. Her father, four siblings, and her aunt Izzie, complicate and propel the story forward.

Read the book. You won’t be able to forget it.

Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 18th June 2013