Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Black Swan Books, 2014)
This book is simply amazing.
At the heart of the book is the question; What if?
The blurb asks:
What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
Ursula Todd, born on a snowy February night in 1910, gets to relive her life over and over again, with glimpses of past lives (and futures) guiding her to make changes – sometimes for the good, sometimes the bad – as she re-takes her journey.
BEWARE SOME SPOILERS LURK BELOW!!!
At times this book had me in tears (in Germany where she gives her sick child a “glass capsule”, before taking one herself so that they might die together and avoid the invading Russian army (I run to death, and death meets me fast, And all my pleasures are like yesterday) or when she dies with her beloved brother at home when still young after contracting flu).
This is, at times a hard book to read, but there is beauty in its sadness. As one reviewer said, “Life hurts like this”. And it does.
Life After Life is a bleak look at what makes us human and the choices we make. This book is wonderfully written and totally immersive. It’s a fantastic work of historical fiction that will be in your thoughts for weeks and weeks afterwards.
Great for those who want to read something beautiful and deep. Not so great for those who dislike gimmicks and find it boring going over the same territory again and again.