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A God in Ruins - help, confused (contains spoiler)

(7 Posts)
BalloonSlayer Sun 01-May-16 19:07:09

I have just finished A God in Ruins, and loved it, but I don't really get the "twist" at the end. Does it mean that most of the book didn't happen because Teddy didn't survive after all, or was it just creating an alternative ending?

I have not read Life After Life (was put off due to the child deaths, although I know she keeps coming back to life) but know what it's about. Will it be clearer if I read that?

FennyBridges Sun 01-May-16 19:18:38


I think the twist is a philosophical one to represent the lives that could have been had they not been lost in the Second World War and ultimately sacrificing their own freedom for ours. The futility of war and the future lives that could never be - Viola's, Sunny's and Bertie's.

Reading Life after Life would not really help, as Kate Atkinson says God In Ruins is not a sequel. But she does say one is an accompaniment to the other, and vice versa. You certainly get to know the quirks of the family and the circumstances of Teddy's death.

SatsukiKusakabe Tue 03-May-16 14:25:47

I think if you read Life After Life before GiR then the twist is not really such a twist. At least for me it wasn't; it felt in keeping with what she had done in LAL and was always a possibility.

I agree with what Fenny says about the lives that could have been, but I would add to that those lives might have been imperfect, muddled, subject to tragedy, loss and failure, but nonetheless of value. Heroism comes in many forms, and the effects of war reach through generations.

TheEagle Sun 19-Jun-16 11:21:10

I've just finished A God in Ruins and I can't decide if I liked or loathed the ending!

I loved Life after Life but this ... Not so sure.

PhoenixRisingSlowly Wed 06-Jul-16 18:52:12

I feel very similar about the ending of A God In Ruins! I finished it a few days ago and felt really very cross. Now I've let it settle I feel less cross but still somehow cheated. I enjoyed Life After Life very much indeed and this not-sequel considerably less, even before the twist. Not sure what to make of it, really.

QueenLaBeefah Sat 09-Jul-16 20:47:44

Loved the book but can't decide if I hated or loathed the ending. Poor Teddy - either ending was completely shite.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sun 10-Jul-16 08:48:16

Loved this, but agree that the twist made me furious - at least initially. After a few days I could see what Atkinson was getting at, all those lives that could never be. But I think it speaks volumes about how well drawn her characters were that I was so upset to lose them like that. I think it's a wonderful book, my favourite of all of hers.

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