Life After Life

Atkinson, Kate

  12 Reviews

During a snowstorm in the English countryside, a baby is born. But this is no ordinary baby: Ursula Todd is destined to live her life over and over again through the first half of the 20th century. Following a myriad of storylines, Ursula's alternative lives offer a rich tapestry of possibilities shaped by personal choice and the capriciousness of fate.

With its vivid vignettes of English life, particularly during the war years, and its capacity to reflect all that we may aspire to or regret, this is an engrossing and interesting read. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

Most people enjoyed the book - after initial confusion with the repeated changes of dates, it was a good read. We talked a lot about the family relationships, and also the concept of 'deja vu' - how much we control our lives and what fate dishes up for us. It was a good read, and Kate Atkinson showed she has good skills as a writer. We liked the perspectives of women in the war. Dunedin 039

Most of us enjoyed the book - a very different view of London during the the bombing and also a contrast with Germany. We felt the book was too long, and the leaps from the present year back to the beginning year of birth a bit overdone. Wanganui 002

We enjoyed this very much, and thought it was beautifully crafted and imagined, with great characters.Thoroughly recommended to other groups. Lower Hutt 013

We had a very thought provoking discussion. It was a very challenging book to read, and I think our memories were working overtime to pull all the bits and pieces together. It was very enlightening to read the author's notes at the end of the book - they helped us understand the style in which it was written, and they gave a good picture of where many of her ideas came from.... Coromandel 003

Most found this a frustrating read - why did the main character have to die 13 times?? Kate Atkinson is a competent and clever writer, but this time we thought she was just too creative, creating more confusion than enjoyment. Auckland 055

We all loved this book - one of the best we have ever read. The section on the London blitz was outstanding.. The characters were so well drawn that we felt we knew them as friends, and mourned their deaths. Nelson 007

There was a mixed reaction to this book, and on balance, more negatives than positives! Members found it hard to follow all the story-lines and didn't particularly like the characters. The questions, however, encouraged a very lively and amusing discussion so all was not lost. Although the book was not hard to read, the length seemed formidable to some. Wellington 134

Some found this book too fractured for their liking; too many stops and starts as each life ended and then began again, Others loved the unusual format. Auckland 302

Fantastic ! Auckland 192



Thoroughly enjoyed but a bit hard to "get into".
An outstanding book, although all found it difficult to understand the story in the beginning. The Blitz of London was so real. Wonderful descriptions throughout the story.
Wide ranging views. Some found it too complex and irritating. However, we all enjoyed the insight into life in London during WWII.
TAUR 051
Took a while to get into - but great once hooked! Excellent to read on holiday. Cleverly written. Amazing structure. Frustrating when chapters ended, but interested to know what would come next.
Generally enjoyed but a feeling that it was too long. The section about London during the Blitz was more informative than other books on the same subject, as well as being very graphic.
All enjoyed this book on different levels. Quite complex. We had loads to talk about and had an enjoyable evening exploring different aspects of the book.
WELL 036
Our group was split on this novel. Half enjoyed it and accepted the date switches, but half got frustrated by having several versions of a life. We did agree that it made us examine the "what ifs' in our own lives.
This book had our group divided. Half loved it and one said it was the best book she had read in years! But others did not enjoy it due to the style and the jumping from era to era or life to life (they didn't get it.) But it did generate good discussion around what we would change if we could live life over again.
We all enjoyed this book once we saw where the author was going with the story. Very imaginative writing and use of vocabulary to portray the characters.
CHCH 185
A really good read. Definitely a different style and beautiful descriptive language.
CHCH 508
Some loved the book, others found it frustrating.
WELL 189
Easy to read but the story was confusing at times, which lessened the enjoyment. Cleverly written and different from most books, so unique. Thought provoking.