by Kate Atkinson
For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways.”
THE BLURB: 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.
Does anyone remember the George Michael song “Turn a Different Corner’?
“Take me back in time
Maybe I can forget
Turn a different corner
And we never would have met”
As a child Ursula lives with a constant sense of fear and deja vu. “I have been here before” she will say, and her mother will look at her and reply “You most certainly have not!” For Sylvie is upset by Ursula’s “feyness” and will take her to a psychologist in an effort to effect a cure for the “strangeness” of her second daughter; so unlike her elder sister, the steady and predictable Pamela.
Hilary Mantel calls Life After Life ‘a box of delights’. It certainly is that. It is also wildly inventive, quirky, absorbing and thought provoking.
I have already been out and bought “A God in Ruins”, Atkinson’s following book which is written from the point of View of Teddy, Ursula’s younger brother.