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**SPOILER ALERT**: Kate Atkinson Life after Life : ENDING DISCUSSION

(10 Posts)
cremolafoam Sat 11-Jan-14 11:53:32

crowler over here!

I am haunted by this book and need to talk about the ending.
Why did Teddy say Thankyou to Usrula?
Why was Sylvies death sort of ignored?
Wasn't the bit in Germany a bit far-fetched?

OP’s posts: |
BillyBanter Sat 11-Jan-14 12:00:08

I think you are allowed to be a bit far-fetched in fiction. Plenty of real-life happenings are a bit far-fetched.

I missed teddy saying thank you to Ursula.

What was the bit about Roland all about?

In adulthood the children, at least Ursula, seemed a bit detached from Sylvie, maybe that's why. Also she maybe was seen as taking a cowards way out so 'unworthy of contemplation'. For unclear reasons from the childhood bits, Hugh was the favoured parent in adulthood.

BillyBanter Sat 11-Jan-14 12:05:41

Also there were 2 (if not 3, it's a bit confusing) German storyline alternatives.

cremolafoam Sat 11-Jan-14 12:12:57

yes BB I agree. I didn't quite believe in Jorgen. Or Gianni for that matter.
I actually liked the bit about Eva Braun etc. I thought she was very well drawn. The wholething at the Berg was terrifyingly good
Roland was an odd passage. I really liked Morris as a revolting character. he was consistently awful.

OP’s posts: |
Crowler Sat 11-Jan-14 15:10:40

I honestly don't know how she pulled it off, if you were to hear it described from someone who'd read it I think you'd be put off.

I forget Roland, it's been 6 months since I read it - what was that?

I loved Sylvie.

cremolafoam Sat 11-Jan-14 16:59:53

Issy's son was Roland who gets taken in by The Todds rather than being adopted by nice Germans. And then drowns in Cornwall.

I rather loved Sylvie too. But preferred Hugh. Wish there had been more George Glover.

OP’s posts: |
Dunlurking Sun 12-Jan-14 08:34:11

There is a (lovely) old discussion thread here and on the first page someone asks the same question about why Teddy said thank you to Ursula. I thought it was because she had saved his life (was it in an earlier life of hers; did she sacrifice her life, or her love life? Can't remember now....) anyway I thought he was somehow aware of that.

Dunlurking Sun 12-Jan-14 08:36:23

Sorry, got that wrong. Just reread my theory (on page 1 of the thread) - it's for saving Nancy's life.

cremolafoam Sun 12-Jan-14 12:14:06

Ah of course. ! Thanks for the link

OP’s posts: |
auberginesrus Fri 17-Jan-14 13:13:58

Have just finished this and absolutely loved it, have been a Kate Atkinson fan since Behind the Scenes and this is top form. Got the bargain kindle edition for £1.99 but think I need to buy a hard copy so I can flick through it again. I think the ending is purposefully vague, I particularly liked the snow segment where Sylvie had a pair of surgical scissors in the drawer, like she knew what would happen if the doctor didn't make it on time. Which leads on to the question of whether Sylvie was also suffering from the same "condition" or whether it was an effect of Ursula's many lives leaving ripples behind that some family members picked up on, such as Sylvie and Teddy? There is also the part where Sylvie seems happy to let Pamela sit with Bridget when she has Spanish flu but on no account should they let Teddy near her, like she has an idea of what will happen. Then again, its Sylvie who is most disturbed by Ursula's deja vu episodes and takes her off to see Dr Kellet. What I loved most about it is that it shows how all our lives turn on chance events to a certain extent.

I thought the scenes set during the London Blitz were fantastic, although difficult reading, and thought how Ursula's lives intersected with the same characters in different ways was very clever. Somebody in the thread linked to above likened that section to Sarah Waters The Night Watch, which I would agree with and its made me decide to go back and reread that, although its disappointingly linear wink

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