Life after Life – Kate Atkinson ****
Published by Black Swan
Won Costa Novel Award 2013
I had been eyeing this book for a while before I bought it. It was the cover that caught my attention but the first sentence on the back sealed the deal.
What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
We all have those ‘what if’ moments, things we would like to change. The thing is, if you change one thing, you change the course of history.
When Ursula is born for the first time, she dies immediately. So she’s born again.. and she lives.
I don’t know how many times she dies in those 610 pages, but it’s quite a lot. Then she starts over, does things differently and lives.. until she dies…
The story begins in 1910 and tells us about Ursula’s life. She’s too young to understand the First World War but she really lives through the Second. That war takes up a big part of the book. I didn’t realize this when I bought the book but I really liked it as I was reading it.
You are given a clear picture of what it was like on both sides, so both in Britain and Germany which was very interesting although it broke my heart along with different other chapters.
At some points I had to put the book away for a couple of hours because it was too much, I was on the verge of tears several times. It’s not because you win one battle that everything will be better, sometimes it just turns out to be worse.
If I had to compare it to something I’ve read I would have to say a very adult version of The Bookthief mixed with The Time Traveller’s Wife. You have to pay attention to keep up with when things are happening.
Also keep in mind that it’s a large read.
I loved it, thought it was very original.
I hope you’ll read it too!
Picture taken from Kate Atkinson’s website