Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (migrated from bookblogger)

Ursula, the main character in this novel, gets what many of us would love — a chance to live her life over.  It is a very interesting premise, getting to start over and reaching different junctures in your life and then either dying or reliving your life again from those junctures. She has a vague feeling of deja vu during some of her life but she is generally not aware of having lived before.  No one around her, save a singular psychiatrist whom she consults has an inkling of what is taking place in her mind.

More interestingly, Ursula lives through both World Wars.  Born in England, she lives through the eye of the storm of the wars and is very personally involved, whether herself or her family members.  As she sees the mistakes made by the various players, she contemplates often what would have happened had Hitler, for example, not been born or not have arisen to power or had been stopped in his pursuit of power earlier.  This is the bane of her existence and she fights it and fights it throughout her life/lives.

The book is extremely well-written and the idea is creative and bold.  Unfortunately, it does become repetitive.  That’s the point, of course, but for the reader, it borders on tedious, even though many of the lives are quite divergent.  It does bring home the idea, though, that a single event in one’s life can impact not only the trajectory of that life but that of many, many others as well.

Much to think about!


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