woensdag 23 september 2015

Kate Atkinson: Life after Life

Hi everyone

Life after Life has been on my bookshelves for a long time.
It has 611 pages of story and 5 pages note by Kate Atkinson herself.

“On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, 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.”

I really enjoyed this book and I’ve already put some of Atkinson’s other works on my wishlist.
This is a very clever novel. It’s full of details about daily life and it gives us a really good impression of politics and society. It’s as if you’re then and there.
But you have to keep track of which ‘when’ you are.

The beginning was difficult to follow. It took me some time to get into it. The novel started out rather boring and not very special. After about 150 pages it got better.
It’s not like she repeats herself because the same event as the time before is now witnessed by someone else or is just a tiny bit different.
It was just not very interesting.

Ursula is a wonderfully, rounded character. I loved her more and more as the novel progressed. Especially once she figures out that she can prevent some things from happening. And as she grows older, she realizes she has to take society, morality and other people into account. Or as she says it: "I'm very interested in the moral path, doing the right thing".

A lot of other characters like Sylvie, Pamela and Izzie are very well realized too. They are important in every storyline and we get to know them a bit better with every lifetime.
I grew more attached to them every time.

One thing that was a bit of a miss to me was Ursula’s sixth sense. In some stories she does develop one and she tries to act accordingly to prevent certain events. But in other storylines she doesn’t seem to remember anything from her other lives. In my opinion, Atkinson should have done the same for all the storylines.

The book ends up being an advocate for women’s rights. Marrying for love or for gratitude are never the same, women can have a profession too and the height of our lives should not be a marriage and children. Thank you Kate Atkinson.
It also shows us that our identities aren’t hardwired or fixed but changed by environment and circumstances.

This is a wonderful, fascinating, marvelous, thought provoking and interesting read.
Definitely recommended!

Happy reading.
Helena