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Review of the Year 2013- Fiction


Only three 5/5 books this year, but the competition is still fierce! Although if you’re a regular visitor you may know which book I will pick as my book of the year…


Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Is the story of Ursula. Ursula lives, and dies, and lives, and dies, again, and again, and again. It’s a sort of dramatic groundhog day. Living the same life again, and again and again, but things change. Ursula doesn’t exactly know about her other lives, just a vague sense occasionally.


The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Is the story of Ichmad. Ichmad is a Palestinian living in an Israeli occupied area. When Ichmad is 12 his father is arrested on terrorist charges and Ichmad’s family get evicted from their house. Ichmad has to start supporting the family.


1Q84- Haruki Murakami

Arguably not a 5/5 book, as I found the beginning difficult. How do you give a blurb for Murakami? Ok so. Tengo and Aoname find themselves in a parallel world. 1984, but with two moons, and little people, and general strangeness. Can they find each other and leave 1Q84 unharmed?

And my book of the year is…

Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life

If you didn’t guess already! I’ve been forcing this book on people all year. It just, wow, swept me away. I couldn’t read anything else afterwards, everything just paled in comparison. I got so involved. I was shouting and Ursula, disappearing, cheering, hoping. READ IT! READ IT NOW!

(Thought I would put up the new cover for interestingness)

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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?

Review.

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.

5/5

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:

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

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Historical