As it should be, the blurb on the back of this book is so intriguing that it enticed me into buying it and I’m so glad that I did because it turned out to be a veritable roller-coaster of a story. It focuses on the life or rather endlessly revised lives of one Ursula Todd, born into an upper middle class family in the early 1900’s who embarks on her existence only to have it cut short in various different ways and have to start all over again. And again…and again. Not a book that captivates immediately but rather draws one in little by little as we witness the ripple effect that even apparently inconsequential events can have on one’s life. I particularly love the unflinching account Atkinson gives of wartime Britain, a far more wretched portrayal than I’ve ever read before and one which stands in stark contrast to the carefree, archaic (and at times deadly) childhood Ursula spends at Fox Corner, the family home. At times the jumping backwards and forwards in time can be a little jarring but it is clearly necessary and on the plus side keeps you on your toes.
Number of Pages:
Atkinson had intended Life After Life to be principally a war novel but soon after starting writing realised that it had to be as much about the years before the war as during as the main character was born in 1910 and had to somehow get from that point to the war years.
Been Made into a Film?:
According to The Telegraph Lionsgate have bought the film rights and the script will be written by Semi Chellas (who has written for Mad Men) and Esta Spalding (who has written for the US adaptation of the Scandinavian drama The Bridge). Exciting stuff!
What I like about the book:
Not being able to really second guess where it was going or what type of ending it would have. I have to say I did like the finale, although in many ways it didn’t seem to be the pinnacle of the story. For me it felt as if the journey getting there had been far more important.
The injustice inherant in certain parts of the story rankled a bit, but to be fair, they only made it more like real life, which whether we like it or not, is generally unfair.
Not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination but well worth the effort and gets you thinking.