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.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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