Friday, May 17, 2013

Book recommendation—Kate Atkinson's Life After Life

Kate Atkinson's Life After Life is an engrossing novel tracing protagonist Ursula's life in stages, beginning from the moment of her birth. The hook is that Atkinson resets the stage at various points and carries the story with one thread changed so the outcomes vary. Her relationships with her siblings and relatives remain fairly constant, it's the chance happenstance or meeting with a stranger that pivots her life. That or the war, which is treated surprisingly graphically for a novel not specifically about war, particularly London during the siege. Ursula even falls into Hitler's inner circle, offering a fascinating inside view of the lure and repellance of the dictator.

A fairly sturdy doorstop (and a good case for e-readers), Life After Life is paced nicely with numerous chapters and sections, some quite short. Atkinson's prose is smart but practical, not overly British to American ears (though set largely in the UK). The one shortfall for me is the cover, which tends to place it improperly among bodice rippers. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

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