Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
A Novel

80%

14 Critic Reviews

Maybe Atkinson was wary of writing something that might be recognisably a family novel – too ordinary. If that was the case, she had no need to worry. There is no question that Atkinson is a superb writer and this Costa prize-winner is remarkable – joyful, moving, perceptive and quietly funny.
-Guardian

Synopsis

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she?

Darkly comic, startlingly poignant, and utterly original -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.

 

About Kate Atkinson

See more books from this Author
Kate Atkinson lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named Whitbread Book of the Year in the U.K. in 1995, and was followed by Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Not the End of the World and Case Histories.
 
Published April 2, 2013 by Reagan Arthur Books. 512 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Apr 21 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Life After Life
All: 14 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Francine Prose on Apr 26 2013

One of the things I like most about British mystery novels...is the combination of good writing and a certain theatrical bravado.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Mar 25 2013

As powerful as the rest of “Life After Life” is, its lengthy evocation of this nightmare is gutsy and deeply disturbing, just as the author intends it to be.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Justin Cartwright on Feb 13 2014

Maybe Atkinson was wary of writing something that might be recognisably a family novel – too ordinary. If that was the case, she had no need to worry. There is no question that Atkinson is a superb writer and this Costa prize-winner is remarkable – joyful, moving, perceptive and quietly funny.

Read Full Review of Life After Life: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Julie Myerson on Mar 17 2013

Much of the...pleasure of this almost deliriously inventive, sharply imagined and ultimately affecting novel lies in the almost spookily vivid atmosphere and pathos that Atkinson manages to extract from all this Groundhog Day repetition.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alex Clark on Mar 06 2013

Kate Atkinson's new novel is a marvel, a great big confidence trick – but one that invites the reader to take part in the deception. In fact, it is impossible to ignore it

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Apr 01 2013

...a densely layered, century-sprawling work that is a formidable bid for the brass ring of the U.K.'s prestigious Man Booker Prize.

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Dear Author

Good
Reviewed by Jennie on Oct 22 2013

I am in the strange position of recommending this book while still kind of warning off traditional romance readers...Still, it’s engrossing and original, and my grade is an A-.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Meg Wolitzer on Apr 02 2013

...Kate Atkinson didn't choose one path for Ursula Todd, and she didn't need to. Instead, she opened her novel outward, letting it breathe unrestricted, all the while creating a strong, inviting draft of something that feels remarkably like life.

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NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Rickard on Apr 02 2013

Readers will be torn by the impulse to race ahead while simultaneously savoring the fine writing.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Nancy Wigston on Apr 07 2013

Is there Life After Life, chance after chance to rewrite one’s destiny? That is the question posed by Atkinson’s tale and brought to life by the miracle of her talent.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Nancy Wigston on Apr 07 2013

Is there Life After Life, chance after chance to rewrite one’s destiny? That is the question posed by Atkinson’s tale and brought to life by the miracle of her talent.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Marjorie Celona on Apr 05 2013

Already Life After Life has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize in Fiction...much to admire when Atkinson leaves the business of dying behind and lets Ursula live a little on the page.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Carolyn Kellogg on Apr 05 2013

This ingenious narrative conceit — the decision to kill her protagonist and bring her back, again and again — not only illustrates how seemingly small decisions can affect our lives; it also allows us as readers to inhabit a novelist's creative process. This is what writers do: create characters, hit a dead end, then go back and start again.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Marjorie Celona on Apr 05 2013

...there is, despite a gimmicky premise, much to admire when Atkinson leaves the business of dying behind and lets Ursula live a little on the page.

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Reader Rating for Life After Life
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Sara Davis 13 Jan 2016

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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ipsita barik 10 Oct 2014

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Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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Terri McGinty 5 Sep 2013

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