Life After Life
Winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and shortlisted for the Women's Prize, Kate Atkinson's acclaimed new novel, about a woman who lives her life over and over again through the most turbulent events of the 20th century, including the London Blitz.
WINNER OF THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD
What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?
Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.
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"It took me more than 50 pages to settle into this unusual book, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. Atkinson is a gifted creator of characters and setting, and this book is such a treat: it has characters who made me giggle, a time and place that was vivid and enlightening, and philosophical questions that I was unable to answer but which had me musing for weeks." - Sarah Minns, Good Reading Magazine
"Kate Atkinson’s new novel is a box of delights. Ingenious in construction, indefatigably entertaining, it grips the reader’s imagination on the first page and never lets go. If you wish to be moved and astonished, read it. And if you want to give a dazzling present, buy it for your friends." - Hilary Mantel
"There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound. Wildly inventive, deeply felt. Hilarious. Humane.
Simply put: it's ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I'VE READ THIS CENTURY." - Gillian Flynn,no1 New York Times author of Gone Girl, and Sharp Objects
"Truly brilliant...Think of Audrey Niffenegger's The TimeTraveler's Wife or David Nicholl's One Day...[or] Martin Amis's Times Arrow, his rewinding of the Holocaust that was shortlisted for the Booker. Life After Life should have the popular success of the former and deserves to win prizes, too. It has that kind of thrill to it, of an already much-loved novelist taking a leap, and breaking through to the next level...This is a rare book that you want, Ursula-like, to start again the minute you have finished." - Helen Rumbelow, The Times
"What makes Atkinson an exceptional writer – and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date – is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us." - Alex Clark, Guardian
"Merging family saga with a fluid sense of time and an extraordinarily vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force." - Amber Pearson, Daily Mail
"Deliriously inventive, sharply imagined and ultimately affecting...The scenes set in Blitz-stricken London will stay with me forever...Atkinson has written something that amounts to so much more than the sum of its (very many) parts. It almost seems to imply that there are new and mysterious things to feel and say about the nature of life and death, the passing of time, fate and possibility.. . [a]magnificently tender and humane novel." - Julie Myerson, Observer
"Brilliant...more than just a terrific story about the impact of one existence on another. Atkinson can knock the socks off any rival in terms of skill and style...The tour de force of the book, though, is Atkinson's recreation of the Blitz...unputdownable" - Evening Standard
"Absolutely brilliant...it reminded me a bit of her first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which is one of my most favourite books ever." - Marian Keyes (newsletter)
"Stunned with tiredness thanks to Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE. Couldn't stop reading. Terrific novel, may be her best yet. So enthralling, so well written, so beautifully constructed. Really, I can't fault it. Will be one of my books of the year." - Val McDermid (Twitter)
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind The Scenes At The Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her last novel, Life After Life, was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize. It was also voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. Her new novel A God in Ruins is a companion to Life After Life.
She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.