Recurring chances to change the course of lifeNADINE HANCOCK
BOOK REVIEW: Life After Life
By Kate Atkinson (Random House, RRP $37)
Life After Life is the sweeping new novel by bestselling novelist Kate Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Case Histories).
After a short and intriguing prologue, this story starts off on a snowy day in 1910 with the birth Ursula Todd. Moments later she dies but is born again in the next chapter but dies shortly after. As the novel progresses Ursula dies many times over, living that little bit longer.
As you would expect, over time Ursula begins to get a sense of deja vu which helps her to change the courses of her many lives. The raft of characters are impressive; it is interesting to read how each changes depending on the events in Ursula's lives.
The events leading up to and following World War II feature prominently in this story and play a major role in the decisions Ursula makes.
This astonishing novel had the potential to be utterly confusing, but the complex threads were instead a pleasure to read thanks to Atkinson's fantastic narrative and structure. I completely loved Life After Life and quickly become obsessed, almost swallowing this book whole in a day.
The ending was satisfying even though it left me wanting to know more, but its ambiguity made me love it even more.
Life After Life is highly recommended and I wouldn't be surprised if it featured in a best reads of 2013 list.