Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson ★ ★ ★★★


Kate Atkinson’s LIFE AFTER LIFE is amazing, incredible, unique, extraordinary, page-turning, surprising, moving.    Still all these superlatives fall short in their praise.  It’s that special.
Even labelling presents difficulty.  It’s an historic tale set during WWI and WW2. It’s a supernatural tale of re-incarnation.  It’s an alternate history in part. It’s beautiful literature with sentences so poetic you read them more than once.  And it’s a drama of secrets that unfold so teasingly that you want to skip ahead so bad your fingers itch.  But you dare not because Atkinson has framed and paced her story so perfectly you know you will miss out.  As you close the final page you want to open the first page and start all over again. This is a book you want to own and not borrow from a friend.  You want to touch its cover later and remember how you felt as you read it. 
Ursula Todd is born on February 11th, 1910 to wealthy English parents but dies immediately only to be reborn again.  This time she lives longer and we learn more about her life and family.  But again she dies and is reborn to a new life with slightly altered events.  It is an era fraught with danger from illness, accidents and dangerous friends and strangers.  In each new life Ursula retains a Déjà vu sense of her previous downfall and is able to avoid  those deaths only to face new challenges. Her deaths are varied and surprising and whilst some lives are short, in some she lives to middle-age. Atkinson’s mastery of pacing creates a marvelous rollercoaster ride, so we never really know when the next death will arrive.
Through Ursula’s and her family’s eyes we experience life in early twentieth century England and the horror and tragedy of the two World Wars; once even behind the German lines up close and personal with Hitler. The detail is meticulous and the feeling of witnessing history uncanny.
LIFE AFTER LIFE is a thought-provoking rarity and sometimes these beauties cannot be analysed. Somewhere in the words, the emotions, between the ink on the page, a magic is born.  On February 11th, 1910 Ursula Todd is born, a classic wondrous character, surely to be loved by generations of readers.

My review copy of Life After Life thanks to the hardworking people at RANDOM HOUSE Australia.
For more information please visit

Release Dates: Australia and New Zealand: 18th March 2013
To Pre-order or purchase after release date in Australia  click here
Available in Hard Cover, Paperback and eBook.


         Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.
         She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn.
         Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster.
          When Will There Be Good News? was voted Richard & Judy Book Best Read of the Year. After Case Histories and One Good Turn, it was her third novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, who also made a welcome return in Started Early, Took My Dog.  Kate was awarded an MBE in the Queen's 2011 Birthday Honours, for services to literature.

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