My Friday Post: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is one of my TBRs  and is one of the books on my 20 Books of Summer list. It’s about Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. I bought it 5 years ago and have started reading it more than once, but have never finished it. But ever since I read and loved A God in Ruins about Ursula’s brother Teddy, I have been meaning to pick it up again.

Life after life


November 1930

A fug of tobacco smoke and damp clammy air hit her as she entered the café. She had come in from the rain and drops of water still trembled like delicate dew on the fur coats of some of the women inside. A regiment of white-aproned waiters rushed around at tempo, serving the needs of the Münchner at leisure – coffee, cake and gossip.

So far, this time round I think this may be the right time for me to read this book.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

On the way home, Pamela carried both baby rabbits in her pinafore, holding it out proudly in front of her like Bridget with a tea-tray.

‘Look at you,’ Hugh said when they walked wearily through the garden gate. ‘Golden and kissed by the sun. You look like real countrywomen.’

‘More red than gold, I’m afraid,’ Sylvie said ruefully.


What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

If you have read this book I’d love to know what you think about it. And if you haven’t, would you keep reading?

22 thoughts on “My Friday Post: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

  1. I tried this but couldn’t get engaged enough to want to continue. I just found it’s repetitive narrative plot premise too improbable. There are plenty of people who loved this so maybe you wil become one of them.

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  2. I have to admit, Margaret, that I haven’t read this one, although I’ve meant to, and keep hearing about it. It does sound intriguing, and I like the way Atkinson writes. I really hope you’ll enjoy it.

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    1. I would keep reading. I have long wanted to read this one. I’ve only read one book by Kate Atkinson and loved it. I really like her writing style and Life After Life just sounds good. I hope you enjoy it this time around, Margaret. Some books just don’t work for us no matter how hard we try. But then, sometimes timing is everything. Hopefully it’s time has come. 😊

      Have a great weekend!

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  3. I have read it and enjoyed it a lot for the most part. As I recall, what I didn’t enjoy was that Ursuala’s life seemed so increasingly more sad and unhappy the older she became in each ‘life’. I would certainly read it again. I’ve wanted to read A God in Ruins ever since it came out and still haven’t got around to it. One day!

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    1. Thanks Sandra – I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s so long since I read A God in Ruins that I think I’ll have to re-read it or at least scan read it to see how the stories compare – if they do!

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  4. I read A God in Ruins after Life After Life, and I have to say I enjoyed God in Ruins more. Both were very creative and compelling, but Life After Life was challenging to read. Glad, though, you found time to read it, as it is a very interesting approach to telling a story.

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  5. I read this one back in 2016 and sort of enjoyed it, but I do remember thinking that it seemed to be a waste of a lot of different potential storylines which only got so far.

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