Life After Life by Kate Atkinson | Released March 14, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction | Amazon | Goodreads
Life After Life is the third book I’ve read this year. (I’m slowly catching up with my reviews. Please await with baited breath!) It is also somewhat of a genre departure for me, as I tend to read mostly detective, murder/mystery, suspense/thriller novels. Life After Life, however is more of a historical fiction with some elements of Science Fiction in it.
Allow me to explain…
Spanning between 1910 and 1967, Life After Life tells the story of Ursula Todd. Ursula was born and then dies before drawing her first breath. Ursula Todd is born again. Throughout her life, Ursula will die numerous times. Each time, she’ll live again, going back to the catalyst to try another path until she gets it right.
I ‘read’ this novel via audio book, which may be part of the reason I had a hard time with it. The book was a slow start, before getting somewhat interesting (albeit somewhat confusing as well) towards the middle before falling flat once again. There wasn’t really much of a climax in the sense that there really wasn’t a edge-of-your-seat moment(s) in the book.
I confess, I only finished this book out of necessity – because when I don’t finish books, they tend to stick around in my brain, continually surging to the front, making me wonder how they end, even if I am not completely in love with the story. I need to know what the payoff is. I’m not entirely sure what that was supposed to be for this book. I suppose, I might have appreciated this book more if this were the type of book I read more often or I thoroughly enjoyed intense introspection after reading. I don’t.
As I said before, I generally read thriller/suspense novels which usually come with a heart-racing, edge-of-your-seat climax. This book had none of that.
Life After Life did give me pause for some slight existential philosophizing, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you may enjoy it. Overall, I wasn’t blown away or caught up in rapture with this book (which is how I prefer my books FYI). I didn’t find myself giving the actual story too much thought after finishing it, which to me, is not a good sign. And while I appreciated the writing style, the plot in itself just wasn’t enough to mesmerize me. 2.5/5.