BookBrowse Reviews Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson

Life After Life
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2013,
    544 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2014,
    560 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

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Ursula Todd, the protagonist in Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, is a literary character seemingly invented just to illustrate, if not answer, the oldest questions of all time: What if I could live my life all over again?

As a fan of Kate Atkinson's inventive fiction, I should have known what I was getting myself into when I tackled reviewing her latest novel, Life After Life. Yes, the book exceeds the five hundred-page mark and thus requires a certain commitment, but the long and sometimes exhausting mental journey springs primarily from Atkinson's cleverness in using unconventional structure to her advantage – the pathway of the repeated lives of protagonist Ursula Todd.

Ursula, the story's unlikely heroine, is born and then dies…and then is born again in February 1910. She enters the world for the first time stillborn, but survives her birth in the very next chapter due to a slight change in chronology and weather – a doctor makes it through a snowstorm just in time in the second version. And so goes the entire book and Ursula's many and varied lives. She is a literary character ...

Here is Kate Atkinson's author note about Life After Life, as well as a bibliography for the book.

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