Life After Life: A Novel, by Kate Atkinson is a book with an interesting take on immortality.
Not that reincarnations or parallel lives are an unusual subject for a novel, but in the aspect of Atkinson’s depiction of it through the lives of Ursula Todd, it can infer so much more. Ursula comes to life on many occasions, and at first it took me a three chapters to understand just what was occurring. That realization, in itself, was not a negative thing, but the constant reinforcement of Ursula’s situation/s left me wanting more than reiterations.
I felt as if I was in the midst of an offshoot version of the film, Groundhog Day. Ursula’s life begins and ends, only to begin again in continual renewal cycles. For me, that about sums it up. Life after life, Ursula is recycled, again and again. Parallel lives, reincarnation, metaphysics, whatever you wish to call it, it is there, unending.
The repetition became boring after a while for me, and the book is a long one with over 500 pages. I felt it tedious and to be challenging for me to finish the book. I became tired of the jumping back and forth in time, place, life, and situational occurrences. Finish it, I did, though.
With that said, the word imagery was excellently written, as well as the historical events. Kate Atkinson accomplishes that with clarity and strength. Atkinson’s writing depicting twists of fate and time bring unusual actions that Ursula involves herself in. She does weave the decades into the pages with a lot of history, which breaks up some of the repetition. I get it, I really do, but totally enjoy it, I did not.
Did I enjoy the book, overall? Not really. I was disappointed, and thought all of the hype surrounding the book was overrated. That is just my opinion. Yours might differ, and therefore we can agree to disagree.
Life after life after life after life…
On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating, I rate this a 3.