Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

I have reviewed this on my Books I Like page but wanted to post it as a blog here too as it is circulating the review lists again.

What a stunning achievement this novel is! Sometimes you read a book and  wish so much that you had had the same idea! It was so very clever. I was totally engrossed in the notion of many layers of a life trying over and over to get it right (the multi-universe/parallel universe/quilted universe concept).

A baby, Ursula, is born on 11th November 1910 in a terrible snowstorm. The umbilical cord is caught around her neck and the doctor is unable to arrive in time so save her. Cut to 11th November 1910 again. This time Ursula survives.  But still she is caught up in events that are unacceptable. Ursula’s death and rebirthing recurs until finally the course of history is set right. What an engaging and thought-provoking concept. How wonderful it would be to believe in this. Turn back the clock and try again. Yes, I can relate to that in my own life – probably most of us could. The evocations of periods of history are well-researched, rich and appear authentic. I felt that some parts were perhaps a little overdone, like the blitz narratives and maybe the novel could have benefitted from some culling of these episodes, but the rest was so engaging that I still gave it 5 stars. Highly recommended.

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