Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Life After Life, June Book

I, for one, am eager to read "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson. Everything I have read about this book peaks my curiosity.

First of all, the structure of the book is intriguing.  It could be titled "Life After Life After Life After Life ........" The central character, Ursula Todd is born and dies repeatedly as the structure of the book circles back and forward in time to explore alternative possible lives for her. It begins with Ursula's birth in 1910 to an upper middle class British family; first as a stillborn, but later as a healthy baby. Eventually she lives through World War II, works in the London War Office and witnesses the Blitz.

I am told by enthusiastic reviewers that this novel will convince us to suspend the will to disbelieve so that we can continue to follow Ursula through her lives, which start again and again, sometimes along very different paths and other times only slightly changed, but always in unpredictable ways.

The story begs questions such as: Can we make things better through the experience of repetition? Does the human condition have to include war?

"Life After Life" was chosen as one of the top ten books of 2013 by the New York Times Book Review, shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize and designated as a notable book for adults by the American Library Association.

At Talk About Books on June 19th we will find out who the believers are.

Leah Gessner

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