Title: Life After Life
Author: Kate Atkinson
Average PSG Rating: 3.875/5
Favorite Quote: “Sylvie’s knowledge, like Izzie’s, was random yet far-ranging, ‘The sign that one has acquired one’s learning from reading novels rather than an education.’”
Although the PSG Book Club was a little behind this month (we blame February) we’re excited to reveal our thoughts on our second pick—Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
The novel follows its lead heroine, Ursula Todd, through many twists and turns and, somehow, through many lives. Should we call it reincarnation? A second (third, fifteenth) chance? Or does Ursula simply feel the flow of life differently than her family and the rest of us do?
But it is still life (after life after life), after all. Childhoods in the English countryside, filled with family and foxes and a very English diet, disrupted by World War I. Teen years darkened by disaster and discovery. A life (or two) in London during the Blitz. Marriage and love and visits to Germany that each offer opportunities for Ursula to act on with the lingering shadows of her lifetimes guiding her.
Just when you thought you’d mastered the nonlinear novel, Atkinson challenges you as a reader again. Ursula’s ability to remember each version, each attempt, of her life brings us in and out of her world, but Atkinson guides you through it all with her expert handling of language, characters, and setting. And if you love Atkinson’s Todd family like we did, there’s A God in Ruins, which follows the life (just the one) of Ursula’s beloved brother Teddy.
If you missed our first review in January, be sure to check it out here. We’ll be back to report on March’s book, The Power by Naomi Alderman, so be on the lookout!