Free ↠ Life After Life (Todd Family, #1) By Kate Atkinson – Vehikool.co.uk

Life After Life (Todd Family, #1) I m embarrassed to say I didn t really understand this book I m a huge Kate Atkinson fan and I think she s one of the most creative writers I ve ever read And I loved the idea of this book Ursula is born, dies, and is born again, living different sometimes very different versions of her life over and over again One of my problems is that there didn t seem to be any rules like there usually are in books about time travel and other magical occurrences Sometime Ursula seems to remember th I m embarrassed to say I didn t really understand this book I m a huge Kate Atkinson fan and I think she s one of the most creative writers I ve ever read And I loved the idea of this book Ursula is born, dies, and is born again, living different sometimes very different versions of her life over and over again One of my problems is that there didn t seem to be any rules like there usually are in books about time travel and other magical occurrences Sometime Ursula seems to remember the past versions of her life, sometimes she seems not to Sometimes things change drastically, sometimes not so much I found that confusing and sometimes hard to follow And the unfortunately at the end I lost track of which life she was in and totally didn t understand what happened I m going to have to go read some of the other reviews and see if they can shed any light on it for me Ursula Todd is born in the midst of a blizzard in 1910, not once, but many times, during the course of her life living only to die and be born again, repeatedly, traveling many paths until she lives the life she was meant to live.Kate Atkinson s writing is superb, and lyrical enough that it carried me through to the end of this book The plot, however, left me floundering for weeks, trying desperately to claw my way to the end of this depressing tale While the premise reincarnation and dest Ursula Todd is born in the midst of a blizzard in 1910, not once, but many times, during the course of her life living only to die and be born again, repeatedly, traveling many paths until she lives the life she was meant to live.Kate Atkinson s writing is superb, and lyrical enough that it carried me through to the end of this book The plot, however, left me floundering for weeks, trying desperately to claw my way to the end of this depressing tale While the premise reincarnation and destiny is interesting, the execution left me frustrated.The early chapters of the book are very short, as Ursula is born, dies, and is reborn again with rapid succession With each successive life, she lives longer in most cases and is developedandas a character The choppy format of the early chapters make it difficult to get attached to Ursula, but as she lives longer, it becomesandapparent that she lives a sad, depressing life In addition, as a result of her continued rebirth, it s difficult to become attached to her, or to feel any real regret or sadness at her passing Also strange is that, as often as you meet them throughout Ursula s life, her siblings never really become fully realized characters As they move in and out of her life, these siblings play important roles in the paths she follows, yet they remain rather one dimensional, as though Atkinson couldn t be bothered to spend the time on them.The book was also a bit too meandering in its plot Lives that led no where interesting or important wandered on for far too long, while lives that seemed to be leading somewhere ended abruptly, only to pick up again to follow another pointless path Perhaps this was Atkinson s exploration of the capricious nature of fate, but it made for some rough reading About 100 pages of this novel could have been trimmed and it would only have improved the quality Forty of those hundred pages should have been the last forty of the book the last few lives lived by Ursula were confusing and unnecessary to the novel.All in all, the writing was exactly what you d expect from Atkinson wonderful , but the story itself was confusing, lifeless, and somewhat empty A hundred fewer pages, a different ending, andfully fleshed out secondary characters would have resulted in a 4 star book for me I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a review kate atkinson has written a lovely, accordion fold of a novel here.this is not a jackson brodie novel, which are always much better than your typical detective novels, even though i haven t read the last one yet merp , but this one is just so muchambitious in scope and style than even those gems it is sublime.at its most simplistic, it is about ursula, a character who will be born and die all in the first two pages excluding what i am considering to be a prologue and then again and kate atkinson has written a lovely, accordion fold of a novel here.this is not a jackson brodie novel, which are always much better than your typical detective novels, even though i haven t read the last one yet merp , but this one is just so muchambitious in scope and style than even those gems it is sublime.at its most simplistic, it is about ursula, a character who will be born and die all in the first two pages excluding what i am considering to be a prologue and then again and again she will die from falling off a roof, from drowning, from gas inhalation, but she will be reborn again to live a collage of different lives, but always as ursula, and always surrounded by the same family sometimes she can remember her past go rounds, in hazy half memories, and sometimes she can remember , but this is not some hippy dippy exploration of spiritual reincarnation i have never read a book that ishuman,terrestrial it is not necessarily about getting it right although you cheer inside every time she manages to avoid the decisions that led to some of herhorrifying deaths it isabout our possible paths, about family, about history.it is about ripples and traps and the horrors of war.and, oh, war i have read many books about england during wartime, whether it be I or II but never have i read one withimmediacy than this one she does such a fantastic job with this particular material not just the parts that you would think i would respond to, being of a ghoulish bent the recovery of the bodies scenes were very graphic and haunting and shivery, yes, but i found myself responding not to the shocking descriptions, butto the quieter scenes, the ones which are focused on the national character during wartime the englishness of this novel is just brilliant there is such a pervading sense of one does as one must and then one has tea throughout On the way back from lunch, Sylvie said she wanted to visit Oberpollingers and buy a present for Hugh When they reached the department store they found the windows daubed with anti Jewish slogans and Sylvie said, Gracious, what a mess The shop was open for business but a pair of grinning louts in SA uniform were loitering in front of the doors, putting people off from entering Not Sylvie, who had marched past the Brownshirts while Ursula reluctantly trailed in her wake into the store and up the thickly carpeted staircase In the face of the uniforms, Ursula had shrugged a cartoon helplessness and murmured rather shamefacedly, She s English She thought that Sylvie didn t understand what it was like living in Germany but in retrospect she thought that perhaps Sylvie had understood very well.i love that passage, on at least three different levels the brisk insouciance of a mother accustomed to living in an imperial nation, the shame of a transplanted daughter living in a changing country whose climate she is becoming a part of, but doesn t yet fully understand, and the latent judgment passing as ignorance and this, which perfectly sums up the english spirit No point in thinking, she said briskly, you just have to get on with life We only have one after all, we should try and do our best We can never get it right, but we must try i loved that about this book it is practical, unhysterical perfection there is a determination to these characters in the face of horrors and lives lived always on the brink of destruction that is admirable and almost uplifting you know, if it weren t for all the bombs.this book killed me, it really did and then i was reborn, as a reader it is such a labor of love you can feel how much thought atkinson put into it, with all of its carefully sprinkled echoes from former life plots, and how lovingly rendered are even the smallest supporting characters mr emslieobviously, i love izzie, the free spirited drunken floozie of an aunt, even though she is such a selfish character but that s kind of what this book is about how when we are living our lives, we miss a great deal of what is happening around us, and if we had a chance to step back, to see the bigger picture, we might make different decisions, and in some cases, we could change the course of history.which sounds trite, but kate atkinson is a muchaccomplished writer than i am, and this book is an absolute triumph.you will have to wait until april to read this, unless you are greg, and are getting it friday, and then it will be mailed off to canada to bill and it is a beautiful looking arc so i am sad to see it go, but one does as one must DECEMBER 2013Paul Bryant had really only just started driving back home, was still trying with his left hand to jam the seat belt buckle into its lock, and multitasking like mad he was thinking about how to review Life After Life, and probably getting too caught up in the various amusing ways it could be done, so that he simply didn t notice the car poking far too far out of the side street When finally he did, he had to swerve like crazy, right into the oncoming traffic What with his seat DECEMBER 2013Paul Bryant had really only just started driving back home, was still trying with his left hand to jam the seat belt buckle into its lock, and multitasking like mad he was thinking about how to review Life After Life, and probably getting too caught up in the various amusing ways it could be done, so that he simply didn t notice the car poking far too far out of the side street When finally he did, he had to swerve like crazy, right into the oncoming traffic What with his seatbelt not being properly secured and the 30 ton lorry, darkness fell rapidly.DECEMBER 2013Paul Bryant had really only just started driving back home, was still trying with his left hand to jam the seat belt buckle into its lock, and multitasking like mad he was thinking about how to review Life After Life, but wasn t so caught up in the various amusing ways it could be done that he didn t notice the car poking far too far out of the side street Stupid boy racer He thought as he made a violent emergency stop When he did finally get home he parked as usual round the corner, got out of his car and was delighted to be confronted with one of the urban foxes which visited Sherwood occasionally Such elegant raffish creatures But there seemed to be something agitating this particular one It was moving side to side and then turning right round in some distress What was wrong with it Suddenly it lunged towards him, nipped him on the ankle and rushed away He thought about the disturbing incident later that evening as he sat at his computer and began his review But then he began to feel most peculiar He suddenly hated all the people who had written sniffy reviews of Life After Life comparing it to Groundhog Day as if that may be a totally great movie but Bill Murray is aware of reliving his endless day, and Ursula is not aware of reliving her life, and it s her whole life it s not even Groundhog Life, please, don t get me started but also his mouth was dripping saliva, he had a high temperature, he was sweating like crazy, and his hair was standing straight up Urgggghh..he lapsed into a coma Darkness fell again.DECEMBER 2013Paul saw the idiot boy racer trying to edge out of the side road and slowed down to let him out Why not Let him cause a fatal crash somewhere else When he got home, as he opened the car door he was confronted with one of the urban foxes who visited Sherwood occasionally But this one looked a little strange Thinking it might possibly be rabid, he gave it a blare on the car horn and it ran off Later that evening, sat at his computer, he was trying to marshal his thoughts on Kate Atkinson s pitch perfect contemplation of our little lives and their infinite forking paths Ursula s main problem was that she couldn t change the fact that she was born in 1910 Hitler was always waiting for her and how this gimmicky pop philosophical soft science fiction not quite alt hist novel morphs into a terrifying war story, one of the best descriptions of life during the Blitz ever but his thoughts were interrupted by the roar of a police helicopter They fly around Sherwood sometimes, always en route to St Ann s, which is gangster territory This one seemed to be right above his house What a racket Suddenly, the noise stopped Peace That was not such a good thing however, as the helicopter s engine had cut out and the helicopter was descending rapidly through his roof Darkness fell quite quickly.DECEMBER 2013Paul didn t crash wasn t bit by rabid fox didn t have police helicopter fall on his house made it to his computer in one piece and thought for a moment Yes The review How about this.DECEMBER 2013 I m pretty sure the idea of being forced to live my life over and over again is something plucked from my worst nightmares, but who among us hasn t been at least tempted to dream of it occasionally with a wistful sigh Please, please, please, just onechance to live the best moments again and when necessary, to make different choices But I would imagine if any of us were actually tasked to unravel all the right and wrong choices from our life and to relive the bad with the good, we d g I m pretty sure the idea of being forced to live my life over and over again is something plucked from my worst nightmares, but who among us hasn t been at least tempted to dream of it occasionally with a wistful sigh Please, please, please, just onechance to live the best moments again and when necessary, to make different choices But I would imagine if any of us were actually tasked to unravel all the right and wrong choices from our life and to relive the bad with the good, we d go screaming into the night like raving banshees.For what is a perfect life How many kicks at the can would it take for you to answer that question, if it is indeed answerable at all Change one thing, change everything, change nothing, change all the good, change all the bad Round and round and round It s exhausting just thinking about it What s the saying If I only knew then, what I know nowwhat What would you do different And would different choices always translate into better choices Ursula is a normal British girl except she s pretty certain she s lived her life before, maybe many, many times The older she gets, the stronger these feelings of deju vu become, hounding her like ghosts in the night Her prescience is rarely crystal clear,like moods or instinct Do this Don t do that Run away Run toward Stay still Life After Life starts slow and unassuming The story is teasing, the pacing a dawdling, scenic walk through the English countryside But from the very first page I was enthralled and little did I realize what a powerful spell Atkinson was casting on my reader brain Because as you continue to read, the book picks up gravity and speed and texture Each life after life reinforces the tender bonds you have been working on with each of the characters Your acquaintance with them is not one brief life, but many, many lives Like Ursula we are both cursed and blessed with the long view, the big picture We come to know all the various permutations of death, cruelty, love and loss We bear witness through two World Wars and how some forces, no matter how forewarned, are unstoppable, greater even than the hand of time.This is a very English story, and is steeped in pre 1950 historical detail Not ever having watched an episode of Downton Abbey I ll go out on a limb here and suggest fans of that show will love this novel for its acute sense of time and attention to detail Atkinson is ruthless in her pursuit for authenticity This is wartime England, no time to pussyfoot around This has got to be right, and in her quest I believe she succeeds magnificently The details are small but glorious, and paint such an intimate portrait you will feel absorbed into Ursula s quiet family life where there are disagreements and births, and jealousies and forgiveness Yes, there is the rumble of the earth as the German bombs fall during the Blitz, but such terrible moments co exist with the stark ordinariness of a life lived Dinners, and picnics, and birthdays and games of cricket, and work, and gardening, and lots and lots of tea Ow one of the evacuees squealed beneath the table Some bugger just kicked me Something cold and wet nosed itself up Ursula s skirt She hoped very much that it was the nose of one of the dogs and not one of the evacuees.This knowledge of the ATS girl s background seemed to particularly infuriate Edwina, who was gripping the butter knife in her hand as if she were planning to attack someone with it Maurice or the ATS girl, or anyone within stabbing distance by the look of it Ursula wondered how much harm a butter knife could do Enough she supposed There is whimsy and humor laced throughout this novel and it makes for a beautiful contrast to theserious components of tragedy and war Life is a farce after all if you can t find the humor in it you ve been doing it wrong or have missed the point entirely Atkinson has not missed the point As readers, we are in capable hands She has one helluva story to tell you, and trust me, you don t want to miss it This review can also be found at Busty Book Bimbo Oh dear dear dear dear dear Obviously I m on another planet to all the other reviewers here, but try as I might, I simply had to give up on page 265and call it a day.The concept of constant re births and lives was a good one but sadly, for me,the incidents throughout were so tame and tepid, and the characters that popped into Ursula s lives were so boring, I m afraid the whole thing was like watching paint dry.Remember that feeling of rushing to get back to a book to read what happens next T Oh dear dear dear dear dear Obviously I m on another planet to all the other reviewers here, but try as I might, I simply had to give up on page 265and call it a day.The concept of constant re births and lives was a good one but sadly, for me,the incidents throughout were so tame and tepid, and the characters that popped into Ursula s lives were so boring, I m afraid the whole thing was like watching paint dry.Remember that feeling of rushing to get back to a book to read what happens next This was the exact opposite dreaded picking it up, and trying to dredge up some interest in this conglomeration of non entities Having paid 15.99 for this attractive looking hardback, I felt that I had to do the payment justice and at least give it a good try.but just over half way..enough was enough If you want to really read a book that does this multi life premise true justice, then read KEN GRIMWOOD S book entitled REPLAY.Now you re talking So much great writing and characterization Such an interesting premise and structure Wonderful use of humor and irony thank you, Teresa throughout Remarkable depictions of The Blitz I want to give this book 5 stars But I can t A bit of editing would have helped but that s a quibble It s very difficult to go back over the same territory over and over again and keep it interesting Atkinson did this amazingly well, tho there were moments of, oh not this again The real blooper for me w So much great writing and characterization Such an interesting premise and structure Wonderful use of humor and irony thank you, Teresa throughout Remarkable depictions of The Blitz I want to give this book 5 stars But I can t A bit of editing would have helped but that s a quibble It s very difficult to go back over the same territory over and over again and keep it interesting Atkinson did this amazingly well, tho there were moments of, oh not this again The real blooper for me was Ursula view spoiler hanging out with Eva Braun and Hitler at the Berchtesgaden No way It just would not have happened And this wonderful fiction writer didn t make me believe that it happened within the pages of her book I wonder if Atkinson struggled with this part and whether she believed it herself These sections lost me they felt lifeless This section reminded me of Woody Allen in his movie Zelig, suddenly and surprisingly showing up in various historical moments That worked This didn t hide spoiler Also, I didn t love the way the book ended Reading the book was like jumping out of an airplane and enjoying the ride most of it , trusting that the landing will be a good one Well, the parachute opened, but very late The landing was abrupt I think I still feel concussed I just closed the book and I m wondering, what just happened Like Ursula, I d like to go back up and try that again Maybe the outcome would be better the second or third or fourth time around 4 1 2 stars This book is so painfully fantastic, I m going to kind of ignore the fact that it stops making sense at the end Is there a word that simultaneously means achingly lovely frustratingly confusing Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck dies without ever drawing breath Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck The doctor cuts the cord Ursula grows to age five, when she drowns in the ocean on holiday Ursula This book is so painfully fantastic, I m going to kind of ignore the fact that it stops making sense at the end Is there a word that simultaneously means achingly lovely frustratingly confusing Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck dies without ever drawing breath Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck The doctor cuts the cord Ursula grows to age five, when she drowns in the ocean on holiday Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck The doctor cuts the cord Ursula grows to age five, when she almost drowns in the ocean on holiday A man on the beach saves her She falls out the window of her house that winter Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck It turns out that Ursula Todd has an infinite number of lives lined up for her after her death, but what s the reason for her many reincarnations Could a little event like World War II have anything to do with it As a book about the life of Ursula Todd, this succeeds brilliantly I could read an entire 500 pagesabout Ursula, her parents, siblings, and her adventures in England Germany around the advent of WWII Most of what happens to Ursula is appalling view spoiler one of her lives includes a rape, abortion, marriage to an abuser who eventually murders her As a child, she s stuck for a while in a loop where the household maid keeps catching influenza on Armistice Day, which keeps causing the death of said maid, Ursula s younger brother eventually Ursula herself She s also stuck for a while in a circle of constantly dying under the same bombed apartment building during the Blitz hide spoiler It s so beautifully written, so mesmerizing heart breaking, it s impossible not to stop everything else you re doing devour this like a fat cake as fast as you can In fact it lends itself particularly well to those times when you re reading you just trail away late into the night, a personal favorite situation of mine.Unfortunately, once this book tries to figure out what it all means, it gets a little muddled view spoiler Since Hitler is always the popular choice in the game of, If you could go back in time kill someone, who would you but while I m not intending to be flippant, I m sure that an estimated 1 to 3 million victims of the Khmer Rouge would appreciate it if someone would set their sights on Pol Pot instead , it s pretty clear where this is headed once Ursula figures out that she s possibly been given chance after chance in order to try to come back make things right for Europe It s just not really obvious in the end whether the choice that she eventually makes to study German get close enough to kill Hitler before his rise to power is what she s meant to do What if that s not why that she keeps coming back to life What if she kills him, averts WWII, then gets inserted right back into, say, her life in Germany with a daughter a husband who s a member of the Reich the dawning, terrible realization that it s way too late to get back to England Since this is the book in my hands, I have to assume that yes, her whole existence is predicated on shooting Hitler in a coffee shop in 1930, but that isn t what I get from the ending In 1930 she kills Hitler In 1945 her brother is found alive after the war Then it s 1910 again the midwife who never made it to Ursula s birth is still drinking rum in a snug hide spoiler I m not sure what it s all supposed to mean, but in the end, I m willing to let the pleasure lie in the journey It s the sort of book I would re read in a week or so to gather all the inevitable a ha moments in my little basket if I wasn t so sure that it would break my heart all over again I need a little distance first I wanted to like this book I wish I could enjoy it I bought it with such enthusiasm, and couldn t wait to start reading it But alas, I sensed almost at the very start that it wasn t going to be a happy relationship a point confirmed by mid way through the book.The length, the repetitive scenes, the incredible number of times Ursula dies and is reborn, are all tedious and terrible torment to get through 2 3rds in, I found myself offended for having my time wasted Surely Atkinson could show I wanted to like this book I wish I could enjoy it I bought it with such enthusiasm, and couldn t wait to start reading it But alas, I sensed almost at the very start that it wasn t going to be a happy relationship a point confirmed by mid way through the book.The length, the repetitive scenes, the incredible number of times Ursula dies and is reborn, are all tedious and terrible torment to get through 2 3rds in, I found myself offended for having my time wasted Surely Atkinson could show the courtesy of not subjecting her readers to so many repetitive scenarios I cannot fault Atkinson s writing nor do I have any particular dislike for her characters I rather liked Izzy the best But the plot lost my interest fairly early on and by the end, I positively wanted to hurl it at a wall I didn t I m rather fond of my walls My apologies for offending anyone with this review I understand our tastes are subjective and many simply adore this book But I m not one of them What If You Could Live Again And Again, Until You Got It Right On A Cold And Snowy Night In , 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


About the Author: Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn.Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster When Will There Be Good News was voted Richard Judy Book Best Read of the Year After Case Histories and One Good Turn, it was her third novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, who makes a welcome return in Started Early, Took My Dog


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