LIFE AFTER LIFE
A beautifully written and fascinating journey of "sliding door" moments following the life of Ursula set against the backdrop of the second world war.
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BY KATE ATKINSON
Life after Life ends where it begins and in between takes us on a fascinating journey of “sliding door” moments. The book focuses on the Todd family, particularly Ursula and the different paths her life might have taken if she had died at various stages from birth to old age. Parallel to this, are the relationships of other family members, friends and acquaintances who affect her life.
An important life-changing incident in one life may be mentioned as a mere aside in another, but they are cleverly intertwined. At the end we were all left in a quandary as to which life we would have liked Ursula to have led whilst at the same time believing she had all her lives. All this is set against the backdrop of the second world war in England and Germany.
The constant shifts can sometimes be a little hard to follow and initially we were shocked by Ursula’s sudden departures, but then we all became quickly absorbed into the next one, just like life, you move on.
It is beautifully written and the Todd family is portrayed so perceptively we felt part of them as they are caught up in this historic changing time and we realise the fine balance the author has, of giving you a character with a happy fulfilling and rewarding life or the one with a sad, lonely and abusive life, which to choose?
If you enjoy this, also worth reading the companion novel A God In Ruins. The Den has also enjoyed Atkinson's detective spy thriller Transcription.
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