I enjoyed Life After Life so much that it made the daunting 529 pages breeze by. Atkinson writes so gracefully you can’t help but be spell bound by her story. Our heroine Ursula Todd is destined – it would seem – to die repeatedly throughout the novel. The setting is the English countryside World War II, where through her words Atkinson gives Fox Corner (home to Ursula, her siblings and parents Sophie and Hugh) a ‘character’ of its own. She describes the war so vividly you imagine she lived through it. Atkinson tackles these many frequent deaths with short chapters that often end with “darkness fell”. The following chapter continues on with Ursula living and seeing ‘premonitions’ that keep her alive until her next untimely death.
There are so many facets to this story that the unfolding of events leaves you reeling. Through Atkinson’s use of imagery and allegory you know you’re reading a novel that will stand the test of time. I’m intentionally leaving out plot from this review because unfortunately it would give away what is better found for one’s self. Trust me when I say this book is well worth the rental, purchase or borrow. Just get your hands on it.
Remember Groundhog Day? Bill Murray’s character goes from thinking he’s a god to attempting to kill himself because he’s condemned to repeat the same day. In the end he spends his day’s do-gooding and eventually learns his ‘lesson’. Life After Life is not a comedy but it has a similar story line. I don’t believe Atkinson’s intentions were to leave the reader considering reincarnation or even the ‘possibility of’ rather I think she has provided options. In Atkinson’s own words ‘What if you had the chance to do it again and again, until you finally got it right? Would you do it?”
Life After Life is beautifully written. You will take a roller coaster ride of emotions from laughter to fear and back again. Don’t take the dust jackets modest write up at its word. This story is fabulous. I don’t give out reviews of five lightly; I believe they are reserved for masterpieces. Well dear readers, here is one.
Jessi Buchmann lives in Beaverton, Oregon and works as a Project Manager. When she is not reading she can be found: writing, painting or wreaking havoc on her house doing home repairs.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Reagan Arthur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.