Saturday, July 20, 2013

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Without giving too much away, hopefully, I think that I can say this about the plot of this novel: it's about the lives of a woman named ursula Todd who continuously reliving her life. For instance, we meet her on the day of her birth, where she is still born and then on the next page, we meet her again and she has managed to live a little longer. And in the section after that, a bit longer. And so the whole book goes, with Ms. Todd living a bit longer each time. During each of these lives we learn a lot more about Ms. Todd and we also learn that she becomes aware that this is happening to her.

The book was a bit difficult to get into as far as the rhythm and pacing of it - it is also disconcerting and disorienting in the beginning because the reader has no idea of what is going on. I think that this may have been intentional on the part of the author because as the novel goes on, one of the most impressive parts is the main character's increasing self awareness including the fact that she seems to have 9 lives. Stick with it because it's so worth it in the end! I also read this book as a combination of "the road not taken" and the ability to make different choices. It's the ability to use hindsight to fix the exact situations that you knew that you had made a mistake in. The writing itself was amazing. It allowed me to get fully absorbed in it without feeling mired down in mud or struggling to wade through. There were a ton of poetic metaphors that were fresh (as opposed to the old tired ones that a lot of people seem to use). It is intelligent without making itself feel better than the reader. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

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