Life After Life

Life After Life : Winner of the Costa Novel Award

3.76 (189,977 ratings by Goodreads)
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WINNER OF THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD: the acclaimed number one bestselling novel.

'A box of delights. Ingenious in construction, indefatigably entertaining, it grips the reader's imagination on the first page and never lets go. If you wish to be moved and astonished, read it. And if you want to give a dazzling present, buy it for your friends.' HILARY MANTEL, author of THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT

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.

'There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound. Wildly inventive, deeply felt. Hilarious. Humane. Simply put: it's one of the best novels I've read this century' GILLIAN FLYNN, number 1 bestselling author of Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Dark Places

'Merging family saga with a fluid sense of time and an extraordinarily vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force' DAILY MAIL

'Absolutely brilliant...it reminded me a bit of her first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which is one of my most favourite books ever.' MARIAN KEYES, author of GROWN UPS

'Truly brilliant...Think of Audrey Niffenegger's The TimeTraveler's Wife or David Nicholl's One Day...[or] Martin Amis's Times Arrow.... This is a rare book that you want to start again the minute you have finished.' THE TIMES
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Product details

  • Paperback | 624 pages
  • 127 x 198 x 37mm | 419g
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552776637
  • 9780552776639
  • 9,601

Review Text

Atkinson, like Audrey Niffenegger before her with the similarly ambitious The Time Traveller's Wife, is a confident enough writer to bear her high concept along well above water level
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Review quote

one of the most innovative, pacy plots of any recent novel * Psychologies Magazine * Atkinson's great skill is in portraying the exquisite tapestry of [life] with warmth, humour and immense humanity. * Yorkshire Post * Atkinson, like Audrey Niffenegger before her with the similarly ambitious The Time Traveller's Wife, is a confident enough writer to bear her high concept along well above water level * Scotsman * Life After Life is to be applauded for its inventiveness, and for reminding us of lives vanished without trace or memory in the waste and monstrosity of war. * Literary Review * Startlingly brilliant...endlessly rich -- James Walton * Reader's Digest * World events, reimagined characters and second chances told with warmth, wit and consummate skill. -- Fanny Blake * Woman & Home * Stunned with tiredness thanks to Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE. Couldn't stop reading. Terrific novel, may be her best yet. So enthralling, so well written, so beautifully constructed. Really, I can't fault it. Will be one of my books of the year. * Val McDermid (Twitter) * Absolutely brilliant...it reminded me a bit of her first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which is one of my most favourite books ever. * Marian Keyes (newsletter) * Brilliant...more than just a terrific story about the impact of one existence on another. Atkinson can knock the socks off any rival in terms of skill and style...The tour de force of the book, though, is Atkinson's recreation of the Blitz...unputdownable * Evening Standard * Deliriously inventive, sharply imagined and ultimately affecting...The scenes set in Blitz-stricken London will stay with me forever...Atkinson has written something that amounts to so much more than the sum of its (very many) parts. It almost seems to imply that there are new and mysterious things to feel and say about the nature of life and death, the passing of time, fate and possibility.. . [a]magnificently tender and humane novel. -- Julie Myerson * Observer * Merging family saga with a fluid sense of time and an extraordinarily vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force. -- Amber Pearson * Daily Mail * What makes Atkinson an exceptional writer - and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date - is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us. -- Alex Clark * Guardian * Truly brilliant...Think of Audrey Niffenegger's The TimeTraveler's Wife or David Nicholl's One Day...[or] Martin Amis's Times Arrow, his rewinding of the Holocaust that was shortlisted for the Booker. Life After Life should have the popular success of the former and deserves to win prizes, too. It has that kind of thrill to it, of an already much-loved novelist taking a leap, and breaking through to the next level...This is a rare book that you want, Ursula-like, to start again the minute you have finished. * The Times * There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound. Wildly inventive, deeply felt. Hilarious. Humane.
Simply put: it's ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I'VE READ THIS CENTURY. Kate Atkinson's new novel is a box of delights. Ingenious in construction, indefatigably entertaining, it grips the reader's imagination on the first page and never lets go. If you wish to be moved and astonished, read it. And if you want to give a dazzling present, buy it for your friends. * Hilary Mantel *
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About Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is one of the world's foremost novelists. She won the Costa Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her three critically lauded and prizewinning novels set around World War II are Life After Life, A God in Ruins (both winners of the Costa Novel Award), and Transcription. She was appointed MBE for services to literature in 2011.

Her bestselling literary crime novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog became a BBC television series starring Jason Isaacs. Jackson Brodie returns in her new novel Big Sky.
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Rating details

189,977 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 28% (53,578)
4 36% (69,178)
3 23% (43,230)
2 9% (16,192)
1 4% (7,799)
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