Life after Life, Kate Atkinson

(74 Posts)
LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Mar-13 19:45:31

I advanced ordered this for my kindle, which I left on the bus and have yet to retrieve from the bus station.
So has anyone read it yet?
It seems like it's going back to her first books pre Jackson Brodie and I can't wait to read it.

Dunlurking Thu 21-Mar-13 07:49:06

Collected this from the library yesterday and am the stage of stroking the cover while I finish my current book. Looking forward to a debate on here...

hackmum Thu 21-Mar-13 08:08:21

I was going to start a thread on this! I just finished it, it's an absolutely cracking read, but I have to admit to being confused by the last few chapters. Whereas for the first half to three-quarters of the book, you can get the basic idea (ie Ursula relives the same life over and over but in each one she lives a bit longer because e.g. an accident or illness is prevented from happening), the permutations become more complicated towards the end.

So I would love it if someone else could read it and explain it all to me.

gailforce1 Thu 21-Mar-13 10:26:37

I reserved this at the library when I first saw it mentioned on MN that Kate Atkinson had a new book out - I am no 66 on their waiting list of 327!!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I really want to read this, but it's v. expensive for my Kindle... I will need to wait!

gailforce1 Thu 21-Mar-13 11:05:40

Thanks Beer I am looking forward to this book and so are a lot of other library users! Just have to be patient...

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 21-Mar-13 11:42:59

Mine arrived yesterday, and is on the shelf of books to read. I am saving it for the Easter holidays, when I plan to have 14 days of reading, coffees and nice lunches.

elkiedee Thu 21-Mar-13 15:55:04

Envy of dunlurking for having a library that gets books so quickly.

WormCanner Thu 21-Mar-13 18:14:04

I reserved it the other day too, I'm 78 in a queue of 84 smile - but they have 61 copies on order (that's for the whole county) so shouldn't be too long. Only costs £1, well worth it I think.

Dunlurking Fri 22-Mar-13 09:37:52

[Smug emoticon] at elkiedee
Am staring at 3 inches of Cumbrian snow with book open, and coffee at hand. Have hard heartedly packed kids off on the school bus even though every other child in the village is having a snow day and I will have to battle through to get them as the bus driver says he won’t make it through the snow this afternoon. Worth it for 6 hours of undisturbed reading their important academic studies .
[Guilty emoticon] as ds has texted to say bus crashed into a tree and has broken windscreen but driver is battling on to get them to school.

Samu2 Sat 23-Mar-13 17:41:10

I have now started to read this.

Two chapters in.

Cherrypi Sun 24-Mar-13 11:13:03

Spent my christmas book tokens on this yesterday. This was always my idea for a novel but glad one of my favourite authors beat me to it wink

louloutheshamed Sun 24-Mar-13 14:18:59

I have just started it too. Slightly disturbed that Ursula has died twice already and I'm only a few pages in!

I went to a talk with KA last week and it was fascinating to hear her talking about the process of writing it.

I'm worried I won't like this as much as the Jackson Brodie ones, as I live crime and those were so clever and tightly plotted, whereas this seems different.

steben Sun 24-Mar-13 14:30:21

I love Kate Atkinson - mine is on its way and I can't wait to get started so marking place.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Thu 28-Mar-13 23:10:40

!!SPOILER ALERT!!


Just finished racing through and was a bit confused by the ending - why did Teddy say thank you?

BaconAndAvocado Wed 03-Apr-13 18:54:54

Heard an interview with KA on the radio last week and was amazed to hear that the way she starts writing a novel is by thinking of the title and then thinking of the plot.

mayaswell Wed 03-Apr-13 19:25:04

Just finished it yesterday. Wonderful.

Her characters are so well developed, and the plot so engrossing. Going back to see why Teddy said thank you, was it because she didn't give up hope?

Bit more like Human Croquet, which I loved.

BaconAndAvocado Wed 03-Apr-13 21:01:20

Ooh, I loved Human Croquet too. Can't wait to read this new one.

Kindle price is SLOWLY coming down....

<taps foot impatiently>

FreddoBaggyMac Sun 07-Apr-13 08:48:00

Just finished it and LOVED it! Her best since Behind the scenes imo (I'm not a Jackson Brodie fan). Like one of the previous posters I did not fully understand the ending and would welcome some more comments on what it all means??? I think I'll have to read it again to get a better understanding.

I found it took a while for me to really warm to the story and characters but by the time I got into the second half I literally didn't want to put it down. I found Hugh a particularly wonderful character and so well written I just about felt he was my own dad grin I couldn't help but imagine him looking like Lord Grantham from Downton (probably because he's called Hugh Bonneville!) The whole book was so moving and made me feel completely blessed for not having experienced war first hand, whichever way you look aat it and whatever Ursula did to try and prevent it it seems that the war wrecked all of their lives in one way or another (which is perhaps Kate Atkinson's point?) The part where Ursula lived in Germany during the war was particularly eye-opening I thought.

I don't fully understand why Teddy said thank you either, it seems important though... did he perhaps know somehow that Ursula had brought about a change in his fate? Did Ursula fully understand what was happening and remember her previous experiences by the end? Any comments much appreciated!

Dunlurking Mon 08-Apr-13 21:44:36

Have just finished this and feeling bereft now. Agree with you FreddoBaggyMac as it took me until the second half to really get into it, but loved and savoured it thereafter

MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT - don't read beyond this unless you've read the book. I MEAN IT!

Also puzzled at Teddy's thank you but I think it was for saving Nancy's life. Ursula had forgotten to save Nancy from childhood death when she had the life where she fell in love with Ben at 16. I read it that she contemplated life after that little breakdown and decides to commit suicide and try again in order to get Hitler sorted and Nancy saved....which means she sacrifices the life she could have had with teenage love and Ben.

BUT I don't understand how Teddy saying thank you can be the same life as killing Hitler - surely she dies when killing Hitler so that scenario and history doesn't actually play out any further? It is all v confusing, but wonderful. Wish she had gone on with another 9 lives or so.

Is the opening chapter/scene of the book where she shoots Hitler (and titled November 1930) the same as the scene at the end when she shoots him? The last is titled December 1930. Is that significant? And are there other significant differences between these two scenes that I should be getting?

hackmum Tue 09-Apr-13 08:16:26

Dunlurking - that's a good suggestion about Teddy's thank you and saving Nancy. That makes sense (though I'm already forgetting bits of it so will have to go back and check).

It was the Hitler thing that puzzled me. She kills Hitler, and dies, but then seems to live another life in which the war actually happens, because Teddy returns from it, and she lives to see him. But why? Couldn't work that out at all. I also wondered if Teddy had lived all along, iyswim, in every single one of her lives, except it's only in the last one that she finds out he's still alive.

Throughout the book I wondered about Izzy's son (it is Izzy, isn't it? I mean the aunt), and then he suddenly turns up in one of the final lives and comes to live with the family. I couldn't understand why that happened in one life but not the others - and also what had happened to him in the other lives.

edam Tue 09-Apr-13 08:20:56

I galloped through this book - so gripping (helped that I was on hols last week). Was also confused re. Teddy saying 'thank you' but by that stage I'd got lost in the permutations. But loved it anyway.

mimbleandlittlemy Tue 09-Apr-13 15:25:32

According to an interview I saw, she is thinking of writing Teddy's version of events so it might all come clearer. Possibly.

Sadly she also said she'd no plans to do any more Jackson Brodie sad

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