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new kate atkinson book -spolier!

(50 Posts)
firefly78 Mon 18-May-15 20:17:44

i didnt like the twist. felt a bit cheated. loved the book though!

hackmum Tue 19-May-15 08:23:15

I had mixed feelings about it. At first I thought - oh wow, that's amazing. But my second thought was that it's a strange trick to say that something didn't really happen - after all this is a work of fiction, and we know that none of it really happened.

And then I thought: haven't I seen this somewhere before? And remembered that there's an Anita Shreve novel, The Last Time they Met, that pulls exactly the same trick. Ian McEwan's Atonement has something similar. (I also thought of a third novel, but can't call it to mind now!)

So I wish she hadn't done it really. I think it would have been better without it.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 19-May-15 14:04:17

I started listening to the audiobook this morning. Have closed my eyes to any spoilers on this thread, but will come back and add my thoughts when I've finished it. Am just over a quarter of the way now, and absolutely loving it.

firefly78 Tue 19-May-15 20:57:32

i agree it didn't need it. i felt as though i had invested in the characters and then was told they didn't exist. silly. loved it though. particularly the sections with Viola as an adult. she was an unpleasant but very dad character.

firefly78 Tue 19-May-15 21:12:00

oops sad not dad

DuchessofMalfi Thu 21-May-15 18:25:18

Just finished it this afternoon. Still feeling a bit stunned by that ending - wasn't expecting that, but I suppose I should have done given the way Life After Life twisted and turned.

Btw I loved Atonement as well - found that ending shocking too. Great literary device - pull the rug out from under the reader grin

hackmum Thu 21-May-15 19:19:39

Yeah, but I don't like having the rug pulled from under me. I find it annoying. Honestly, if I ever meet Ian McEwan I will have to thump him.

It's still irritating me that I can't remember what the third book was that uses that same twist. Maybe I imagined it.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 21-May-15 19:31:19

Not thinking of Dallas by any chance, were you hackmum? The great Bobby Ewing storyline that never was grin That really annoyed me.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Thu 21-May-15 22:24:58

I saw it coming with the Dr Who gag but then decided it didn't matter - as KA says in the epilogue, it could have been Teddy's 'real' life in another of Ursula's lives. And such beautiful writing.

bangbangprettypretty Thu 21-May-15 22:45:16

I LOVED it - was so shocked and didn't see it coming at all. In some ways I preferred it to Atonement which is similar.

Life After Life was a truly great book though and I had a soft spot for Teddy all the way through that so I liked reading more about him!

DuchessofMalfi Fri 22-May-15 07:17:33

As a small aside - did anyone else notice the Mumsnet reference? Was of Viola's novel. Someone likened it to a Jodi Picoult. Made me grin

hackmum Fri 22-May-15 07:52:54

Oh, I did notice the Mumsnet reference! That was very funny. The whole business about Viola's novels was entertaining - there was one line where she thinks about writing about the war because people take you seriously if you write about the war, which I assume was a little joke at herself. In fact, I think Viola and Kate share a birthday so perhaps she saw Viola as embodying some of her own worst traits.

It wasn't Dallas, Duchess. It was definitely something where the lives of the characters couldn't have happened because they'd been killed early on.

hackmum Fri 22-May-15 07:53:18

When I say "share a birthday" I mean that they were born in the same year, not the actual date.

DuchessofMalfi Fri 22-May-15 09:15:24

Right so not Dallas grin. It is starting to sound vaguely familiar. Will rack brain cell today unless someone else can recall it first.

basketofshells Fri 22-May-15 09:43:10

I found the twist a real shock - hugely effective. Was upset as I'd been invested in the characters, but could see it was about so many potential lives not lived. I think she foreshadowed it in the horrible sequence of Nancy's death - how it hadn't happened in the way we first believed. I liked the way she forced us to consider that certain awful things then wouldn't have happened as well - weighing that up against a person's whole life. Taken together with Life After Life it's one of my favourite things that she's done.

ClaraDeLaNoche Mon 01-Jun-15 11:15:18

I wasn't mad about the twist but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book. Viola made me laugh, she was so hateful!

ThursdayLast Mon 01-Jun-15 21:39:20

I just finished listening to it this evening. I wasn't shocked, but neither was I expecting it IYSWIM.

It did make me very very sad though. I'd really bought into the Todd family.

I really do enjoy reading (listening to ) Kate Atkinsons novels.

Theknacktoflying Tue 09-Jun-15 19:39:23

I cried! Such a sad and unexpected ending to a book

I found the descriptions of the reccies over Europe very interesting. As much as you read about it it still makes me gasp just how brutal and callous it was.

MrsEricBana Tue 09-Jun-15 19:42:31

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver has this twist too.

bethshart Wed 10-Jun-15 11:42:45

Another Ian McEwan book - Sweet Tooth - has a twist at the end, although as you're getting towards the end, you can see it coming.

bethshart Wed 10-Jun-15 11:45:56

I enjoyed Life after Life. Not sure after reading your comments whether to read the follow up. The reviews weren't over the moon either. But critics sometimes praise up books I haven't liked at all, and vice versa. Like with film critics.

strawberrypenguin Wed 10-Jun-15 17:05:03

I thought this one took a little while to get going but I really loved the 'Teddy's War' bits.
The twist wasn't so bad but then I had been reading it as if it was only 'one' of Teddy's lives anyway. I thought the twist just illustrated how many people didn't come to be in other 'lives' if Teddy died.

Clawdy Wed 10-Jun-15 17:39:59

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart has a similar strange twist. Another excellent read.

MrsEricBana Thu 11-Jun-15 17:25:02

bethsart - Definitely worth reading the follow up. As Strawb says the Teddy's War bits were fantastic and I really enjoyed it overall.

Aixoise Fri 12-Jun-15 12:04:16

I loved it. I guessed the twist just before the end. Did anyone else find it almost unbearably sad and poignant?

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