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Kate Atkinson's Life After Life [SPOILERS]

(35 Posts)
JessicaJones Sat 26-Dec-15 09:50:10

I got a Kindle for Christmas and went looking for recommendations, found Life After Life and read a sample which set up Ursula as an adult, seemingly killing Hitler and being killed herself. It all seemed interesting and good so I bought it to read. I thought it was going to be similar in plot (if not style) to Edge of Tomorrow where Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise get to live and die again and again til they get their mission right.

I've read the first few chapters and am having to read many different scenes of a young girl dying! Being the parent of 7 and 5-year-old girls I'm finding it quite hard! How many more times do I have to read about the death of a young girl before it settles into the main plot?

(It's possible I'm feeling over-sensitive in that post-Christmas kind of way grin)

ErnesttheBavarian Sat 26-Dec-15 09:58:35

I'm reading it. Am up to about 16%. I found the 1st 7% hard going. She does die loads of times but you don't see the aftermath iyswim. I have a 7 yr old dd and that doesn't bother me at all. I mean apart from the drowning they aren't particularly sad or tugging at the heart strings.

I am getting into the book more and it has great reviews. I'm reading it with my book club. I would have maybe given up by now otherwise but like I said, am starting to enjoy it more.

DoreenLethal Sat 26-Dec-15 10:01:09

I could not get into this book and I love Kate Atkinson.

IamTheWhoreofBabylon Sat 26-Dec-15 10:05:16

I battled through the book as I kept getting told it would improve but I didn't enjoy it at all
I just tired of her dying all the time and cared little for the characters

museumum Sat 26-Dec-15 10:08:31

Each time she dies she doesn't die but starts again. The first bit it happens often but after a while she gets older and more happens in each life. It's pretty good when she's a young woman.

LetMeDriveTheBus Sat 26-Dec-15 10:18:15

I found it really sad at points but loved it. I've re-read it a couple of times since as there's lots I didn't fully process at the first reading.

LIZS Sat 26-Dec-15 10:18:55

It was fine but about 2/3 in loses its way.

CoteDAzur Sat 26-Dec-15 10:38:51

Um, do you think it's right to give a massive spoiler in your OP? I'm reporting this thread, hoping MNHQ will add "Spoiler" to the title.

mustardfrench Sat 26-Dec-15 10:41:28

I'm pretty surprised that the sample you got contains such a massive spoiler!!

I liked it.

Roygrace Sat 26-Dec-15 10:43:40

You have just ruined my Christmas present!

SanityClause Sat 26-Dec-15 10:44:11

I love this book, and also A God In Ruins which is about Teddie, and his family, during and after the war.

The bit about Hitler isn't a spoiler, Cote, it's either the preface or the first chapter of the book.

I suppose it's not everyone's cup of tea, though. But if you do like it, you might also try Lionel Shriver's The Post-Birthday World.

Kathysclown Sat 26-Dec-15 10:45:31

LOVED this book, one part late on makes me cry just thinking about it......

CoteDAzur Sat 26-Dec-15 10:49:17

No it's not, Sanity. The first time the word Hitler is used in the book is on page 277 and what OP refers to happens at the very end of the book. It is the culmination of the story, the very point to all this re-living of a very boring life.

MsMermaid Sat 26-Dec-15 10:50:18

I loved this book. Mil gave it to me after she hated it hmm

I did find the first few chapters quite repetitive, but I really enjoyed it once she started living a bit longer. There was one life that made me cry loads, proper sobs because it was so sad, but most of the other lives were OK.

sooperdooper Sat 26-Dec-15 10:57:23

I didn't enjoy it as much as some of her other books but once you get your head around the reliving of her life over and over with different outcomes it's an interesting concept

I know the Hitler part is the conclusion but I found the section where she's basically friends with Ava all became a bit too far fetched and odd - it was my least favourite part

SanityClause Sat 26-Dec-15 11:06:26

The second page of my book (Kindle) has her shooting someone in November 1930, whom she refers to as "Fuhrer".

So, I would say, not a spoiler.

Still, MNHQ have put it in the thread title, now.

Kuriusoranj Sat 26-Dec-15 11:16:07

It's true that the person in the preface isn't referred to by name, bit it seems absolutely obvious who it is. I've read this book a couple of times, and actually I'm mid way though again right now. I think it's astonishing, wonderful, amazing - one of my very favourites. I also cry buckets at several points!

JessicaJones Sat 26-Dec-15 11:18:17

How can it be a spoiler? I haven't read the book! Like a pp said, it's in the first few pages of the book, she says 'Fuhrer, for you' and shoots him.

I hope people don't start talking about the rest of the book, because then I'll have to abandon my own thread...

JessicaJones Sat 26-Dec-15 11:19:24

As in the plot of the rest of the book, rather than giving me an idea how long the child deaths continue, which is what I asked.

Kuriusoranj Sat 26-Dec-15 11:23:32

I am super sensitive about child deaths - I've abandoned the strangest things over it - and I wasn't put off at all. As a PP says, the child stage doesn't last very long.

IamTheWhoreofBabylon Sat 26-Dec-15 11:23:33

I loved Lionel Schriver the post birthday world so can't understand why I didn't like life after life
Perhaps I should give it another go

JessicaJones Sat 26-Dec-15 11:24:43

Thanks Kuriusoranj, I'll stick with it.

JessicaJones Sat 26-Dec-15 11:32:26

In fact, I'm a little bit miffed at being accused of spoiling a book and actually having had it spoiled for me in turn.

This post "The first time the word Hitler is used in the book is on page 277 and what OP refers to happens at the very end of the book. It is the culmination of the story, the very point to all this re-living of a very boring life", has made me significantly less interested in reading the book.

SanityClause Sat 26-Dec-15 12:04:40

I disagree with Cotes précis of the novel, anyway, Jessica.

I would say the point of the novel is that life may take many paths. It may be over in an instant, or a chance meeting or event may make it extraordinary, or indeed, dull.

There are also beautifully written characters, and wonderful insights into human nature.

I'd stick with it, if I were you.

SanityClause Sat 26-Dec-15 12:08:31

Anyway, don't read Kate Atkinson if you don't like child deaths. There's usually at least one.

There's also lots of hope and happiness in them, though, I find.

I love the way she links characters from the different books, too. The main character of one, will barely be mentioned in another.

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