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Life After Lifeby Kate Atkinson
Synopses & Reviews
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, the third child of a wealthy 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 any number of ways. Ursula's world is in turmoil, facing the unspeakable evil of the two greatest wars in history. What power and force can one woman exert over the fate of civilization — if only she has the chance?
Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.
"One of the best novels I've read this century. Kate Atkinson is a marvel. There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound." Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
"An exercise in narrative gutsiness; a meditation on history, contingency, and free will; and the best new novel I've read this year." Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine
"[Atkinson's] latest novel, Life After Life, is her very best... A big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author's fully untethered imagination... Even without the sleight of hand, Life After Life would be an exceptionally captivating book with an engaging cast of characters....[Atkinson's] own writerly cradle was rocked by a very sure hand indeed." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Audacious, the kind of sweeping virtuoso epic that actually earns overheated book-jacket phrases like 'tour de force!'...Atkinson is a fantastic storyteller....It's all so richly imagined and ingeniously executed that the mystery feels right. Her domestic vignettes and wide-screen portraits of wartime resonate with startling physical and emotional clarity, and even her repetitions find fresh revelations....What Atkinson has mastered: shining a light on how full life is of choices and chance, and how lucky we are to live it." Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
"The Blitz segments vibrate with life, as vivid and horrifying as a series of glimpses into a charnel house....The natural exuberance of Atkinson's prose is brought into sharp, precise control. Buried inside Life After Life is the best Blitz novel since Sarah Waters's The Night Watch." Steve Donoghue, The Washington Post
"A densely layered, century-sprawling work that is a formidable bid for the brass ring of the U.K.'s prestigious Man Booker Prize. Life After Life is a drama of failures and providential rebirths....Her storytelling prowess is on fullest display in a gorgeous and nerve-racking novella-length chapter set during the Blitz....It's spellbindingly done." Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
"Atkinson has turned a high-concept conceit into an intricately crafted, totally engaging new novel....Atkinson combines the cleverness of metafiction with the warmth and detail of period fiction for an end result that is satisfyingly original." Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor
"Inventive....This ingenious narrative conceit not only illustrates how seemingly small decisions can affect our lives, it also allows us as readers to inhabit a novelist's creative process...Atkinson has crafted a narrative that pushes us to think about our own choices....Some of Ursula's narratives are so compelling, so convincing, that it is hard to imagine her ending up any other way." Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
"It is in the depiction of Ursula's loving yet contentious family that Life After Life truly shines...a dazzling, intricate and entertaining novel." Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
"A thoroughly entertaining, periodically moving read, and a wholly unique addition....Atkinson never so much as flirts with pathos; her ethos and heroine are as unsentimental as the times require." Eugenia Williamson, Boston Globe
"Sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. Life After Life is a dazzling juggling act...by all means, read this book." Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times
"You can't put down Life After Life until you finish it, and then I suggest you read it a second time." Bob Hoover, Dallas Morning News
"Dazzling...the fantasy behind that reality turns out to be rivetingly complex." Karen Holt, O, the Oprah Magazine
About the Author
Kate Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named England's Whitbread Book of the Year in 1996. Since then, she has written seven more ground-breaking, bestselling books, most recently Started Early, Took My Dog. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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