Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of Life After Life free of charge by the publisher (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

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?


I really did not want this book to end, it was, just, wow, there’s no words! I’m sad that it ended when it did. I have that sort of melancholy feeling you get from finishing a book that’s really special. I can’t remember the last time I felt that, maybe as far back as The Elegance of the Hedgehog (and that was back in 2010)? In some way it’s greater because the story didn’t have to end there. The nature of the story means it never really had to end, although I suppose if it didn’t end Atkinson would still be writing it and I wouldn’t have got to read it at all!

How can I describe this book? It’s a sort of epic Groundhog Day. It’s strange how everything seems sort of inevitable, even though Ursula has lived it before, has knowledge from that former life, even though you know she should fix it you’re scared that the same thing will just happen again, and again, and again. You’re shouting at her. You know what’s going to happen and there’s a sadness, and a dread, somehow you don’t think she’ll fix it.

I think that shows something of Atkinson’s writing talent, and ability to get you into a story, that your emotions trump your logic, every, single, time.

I loved Ursula, when everything changed, however she decided to live that life, she was still, undeniably Ursula, and that’s probably a hard thing to achieve. I enjoyed the whole family dynamic too, and that was something which barely changed.

A lot of the story focused around the second world war, which is a period of time I like to read fiction about. It was interesting though because Ursula’s different lives meant you could see the war from different angles, and with a sort of hindsight which was built into the novel, rather than from the reader living in a different time.

I’ve never read any Atkinson before, she’s known for crime stories, which aren’t generally my thing, but I may read more of her now.


Life After Life is released on 14th March, you can pre-order it now:

Kindle (£8.50)

Hardback (£10.63)

Paperback– released September (£10.09)

Other Reviews:

Sam Still Reading

Have I missed your review? Link me in comments and I’ll add it here.


Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Historical

30 responses to “Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

  1. Woohoo! I’ve got this on hold at the library…I’m about number 44 on the list, so I’m glad it sounds like it will be worth the wait!


  2. I’ve read some of Atkinson’s mystery novels, which are OK. But this sounds really good, my kind of thing, On the wishlist!


  3. This novel sounds great! On the wishlist 😉


  4. Sounds like an amazing book. It’s definitely going on the to-read list.


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  6. Oh it is, it is! It took me almost a week to get out of my flunk from finishing it and even then I had to force myself to read something else!


  7. I think you’d like it. I hope I’m right 🙂


  8. I hope everyone else reads it quickly for you 🙂


  9. Lovely to read that you enjoyed this one too. I really would recommened her other novels too. I do love the Jackson Brodie stories – the ones with a crime element – but I think they could be enjoyed by non crime readers too, the writing is so good. I thought Life After Life was fab too.


  10. That’s nice to hear because I do sometimes like crime books but they tend to be rather formulaic which puts me off.


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  12. Thank you for the link 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it. This is my pick for the Women’s Prize (cross fingers).


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