Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

You know… I liked this book. I enjoyed it as I read it. But now as I’m here typing, I don’t know what to tell you.

The basic plot is this: Ursula Todd was born and died. And then she was born again, and survived. This act is repeated throughout her life in the many ways she is killed, from falling out of a window to being victim to a bomb in WWII. Each time she comes back to life with anxiety around the situations she died in: sometimes they save her, sometimes they do not. They only linger as a sense of deja vu, never quite forming themselves into full memories.

Part of why it’s difficult to just talk about the book is that it’s “different” in many ways: the lead character is not a typical heroine, though the first pages open with her aiming a gun at Hitler. She’s not heroic, she has little control over her life or her experiences, she is more apt to think she is crazy than gifted. She is driven by love and anxiety and uncertainty.

I can’t tell you when or why or how you should read this. It’s meandering and strange and sometimes you think, Okay, did we really have to jump back? And yet somehow you get lost in the momentum and aimlessness of the book and come out on the other side glad you’ve read it.

So, I guess, here’s a book when you feel like meandering.

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