Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, 478 pages
review copy from Random House Canada
"What if we had a chance to do it again and again," Teddy said, "until we finally did get it right? Wouldn't that be wonderful?"
First of all, this is not Groundhog Day, the movie. Ursula Todd is not
reliving the same day, but she does get to live her life over and over.
Each time, at some critical point, her life takes a turn. The people in
her life stay the same, but different things happen each time, after
The two world wars in England are lived over and
over, with lots of chances for death. Ursula has deja vu eventually, as
she somehow knows she needs to do things to prevent the deaths of her
loved ones. London during the blitz is so ripe for reading about, and I do enjoy that setting.
It was fun as the book moved on to see the same people and
same events, but from different views of Ursula's life, depending on how
this world was going. Sometimes she might have been killed by the bomb
that landed during the blitz, sometimes she was the ARP worker saving
the same house and people from the bomb, sometimes she was nearby,
sometimes she was in Germany instead. The essence of the other characters stayed the same in her various lives - she is always close to her sister, her aunt always comes to the rescue.
Atkinson is a wonderful writer, with a good sense of humor, and the ability to keep different characters and plot lines interconnected, and satisfying, by the end. I've loved all the books she's written (I haven't read two early books yet) but I so look forward to them. I'm not sure if I like this one better than Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Life After Life was more enjoyable during the reading but by the end of Behind the Scenes at the Museum, I was blown away by how it all came together. Life After Life was a bit of a let down, since how can the story ever end? But the ride was fabulous.