Saturday, 20 September 2014

Life after Life

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.
In my last post I wrote about how The Luminaries had taken me sooo long to read. Life after Life is another lengthy book, but I learnt my lesson about reading books on the Kindle that skip around through time. So, I bought the paperback as well as the download. Well, if I am honest I bought the book by mistake as I had forgotten I had downloaded it to read at a later date!

Anyway, I love books that have alternative endings, alternative times like the Time Travellers Wife, so I was really looking forward to this book. I started off with the paperback, switching to the Kindle when I was travelling. This enabled me to skip back to parts of the book to check/review previous chapters.

It's I'm sorry to say another book I nearly gave up on. The main character dies several times in the book, in many different "what could have been" scenarios - think Sliding Doors. About three quarters of the way through I was beginning to wish she just died and stayed dead. I think the author was a little self indulgent in how many different scenarios she wrote, as some differed minutely from others. 

What I did enjoy was the social history side of this book. The book is set partly in WW2 and the retelling of the main characters war efforts were particularly interesting.
I do know of another reader who did give up on this book - so pleased I made it to the end.
If you really want to read a well written book with a "life after life" scenario then I point you towards the excellent Replay by Ken Grimwood (1944-2003), read it you won't be sorry.

I'm only just starting out on the book blog road and I have too many books to read to make the blog look any better right now - but in time I will expand.

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