Fiction · History · Theresa F

Life After Life | by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
(Reagan Arthur Books, 2013, 544 pages)

“What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. 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 a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.” –

It’s hard to imagine how the author can tell the story of a woman who dies repeatedly, is reborn again at the exact same time and the exact same place, and it never gets repetitive.  She does a great job of telling different parts of Ursula’s life, so each time you get something new about the character.  As Ursula gets older, she tries to correct past mistakes but it doesn’t keep her from making new ones which calls to mind the saying, “If I knew then what I know now, things would be different.”  Things would be different, but would it better?

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