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Life after life kate Atkinson

(66 Posts)
Gumnast2014 Thu 29-Jan-15 06:21:21

Argghhh confused, restarted it twice.

Just can't get into it?

Keep going or give up?

Can anyone help with who is how? Honestly I'm lost.

Sootgremlin Thu 29-Jan-15 08:08:39

I really loved this, but, yes, at the beginning you sort of have to keep reading through the confusion until you start to get the hang of it. I think restarting it probably doesn't help in this case, I found the more of it I read the clearer it became what was going on, and it was worth the early confusion.

It is focused on the life of Ursula Todd, lived over and over in different ways, so the first bits are concentrated on her parents and the time of her birth, then as it progresses she gets further into her childhood and the adulthood and it's more obvious what is happening the further you get into it.

Hope that's helped without being too spoilery (it's sort of in the title anyway)

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 29-Jan-15 08:22:14

I absolutely loved this book, my favourite in years. I don't remember the beginning so well but you probably do have to persevere, it's Ursula being born, the events around her birth including her parents and the household staff.She dies as a baby and then is born again and dies of something else a little later. And then is born again ... Quite quickly, she's an adult having avoided all the childhood things that might have bumped her off and she ends up doing all sorts of interesting things in her different lives. Give it another go, but obviously it may not be for everyone

Sootgremlin Thu 29-Jan-15 09:36:21

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Great name, love Judy Blume grin

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 29-Jan-15 09:45:55

Why thank you grin, though a name change to UrsulaTodd should really be on the cards

Numpty99 Thu 29-Jan-15 10:01:57

I was lent this by a friend who recommended it. Took a long time to get into it but worth sticking with. Once you get used to continually jumping back in time it's a pretty good story. Persevere!!

Cedar03 Thu 29-Jan-15 13:12:10

This is a brilliant book. Just accept that she'll keep dying and then spot the differences in the early versions of her life. Each one has a different consequence.

MrsSquirrel Thu 29-Jan-15 13:31:22

I loved this book! Don't worry about feeling lost, just keep going grin As Sootgremlin says, it's more obvious what is happening the further you get into it.

It is difficult to read because it doesn't have a conventional plot, but so worth it IMO.

linalool Thu 29-Jan-15 13:39:54

I gave up on it.

LeonardWentToTheOffice Thu 29-Jan-15 14:18:58

I loved it - like the bits where it seemed to be making fun off itself...page 144 'Darkness, and so on.'

I may have to read it again now - I did love it so!

LeonardWentToTheOffice Thu 29-Jan-15 14:19:48

# fun of blush

FaFoutis Thu 29-Jan-15 14:21:19

I couldn't read it. I was told it got better after the first 50 pages but I couldn't get that far.

strongandlong Thu 29-Jan-15 14:26:44

I absolutely loved it. Beautifully written and cleverly structured.

strongandlong Thu 29-Jan-15 14:29:18

The concept is a bit 'sliding doors' exploring the impact of sometimes minor decisions and events on the course of a life.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-Jan-15 14:45:52

Don't feel that you have to finish this book. It doesn't get much better the more you go on.

Yes, she dies in a variety of ways and and gets reborn to live the same life again. I think the moral of the story is to show the reader how each of us could be a respectable housewife, a spinster, an alcoholic, etc if some little thing happened to us when it should/shouldn't have.

Why the author has decided to tell us about a woman who has lived the most boring life imaginable is anyone's guess, though. Maybe the moral of the story is that God is cruel, and that if you are bad, he will make you live the same unbelievably mundane life over and over again.

HappydaysArehere Thu 29-Jan-15 15:07:13

Well written but all that dying got on my nerves. It didn't engage me despite the continual literary references which are my"cup of tea" and I found the overall idea quite boring. Could just be the mood I was in!

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 29-Jan-15 15:21:06

Without any spoilers, I totally disagree she led the most boring life imaginable. Each to their own.

5446 Thu 29-Jan-15 15:26:48

I adored it, it's one book that stuck with me for a long time after.

I read around 120-150 books a year, so they have to be pretty good to do that.

Thought the ending in particular was so clever.

Hassled Thu 29-Jan-15 15:27:27

I adore Kate Atkinson but I have to confess I never quite managed to finish this one. I just stopped caring after a while.

Footle Thu 29-Jan-15 15:29:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Viviennemary Thu 29-Jan-15 15:38:36

I got this a while back and only read a couple of pages and it didn't really appeal much to me. But I'll give it another go. My favourite KA was the one about Tracey the ex policewoman turned security guard. I've not read all of them though.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Thu 29-Jan-15 15:41:40

I'm struggling with it too but my MIL and some friends have raved about it so keep persevering confused. Problem is every time I have a break from it I have to reread from the beginning.

2rebecca Thu 29-Jan-15 23:47:20

I enjoyed it until the ending. It was like she just got bored and decided to stop writing. She could have stopped at the end of any of the other lives and it wouldn't have made an difference.
I like proper endings.
Why did you think the ending was clever 5446? maybe I missed something, to me it just sort of stopped.

strongandlong Fri 30-Jan-15 10:11:35

I feel like I must have read a different book to you cote and 2rebecca. She doesn't live the same life over again. Some versions are short/boring/banal some are incredibly sad and some are amazing.

It it isn't only her own fate that changes, in the end (trying to avoid spoilers here) she changes the course of history.

CoteDAzur Fri 30-Jan-15 10:30:14

What we obviously meant by "lives the same life over and over again" was that she isn't born as a princess one time, as a fisherman's daughter living on a boat the next, etc. She is born into the same family, with the same parents, in the same house every single time. Most of the characters are the same in each life. It is a Groundhog Day scenario.

It would have been OK if said lives weren't so incredibly dull for the most part. The book would have also been more tolerable if this reincarnation happened to a slightly more interesting/intelligent/colorful person.

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