"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Life After Life

TITLE: Life After Life
AUTHOR: Kate Atkinson

Ursula has the ability to relive her life over and over, haunted by feelings of deja vu and even precognition. Every time she dies, she's born again. Sometimes, her deaths are the work of fate. Other times, she can avoid them by making different choices. But this odd ability of Ursula's is not all that interests Atkinson so much as what Ursula experiences in her many lives. Born in 1910, when she manages to live past her teens, she experiences World War II, sometimes from the center of the Blitz and sometimes in Germany. She loses loved ones over and over. And given the chance to kill Hitler, does she? But in a life that reboots every time she dies, does it matter what she does? Is it real? Is any of it real? How much can we affect our own reality? Is Ursula really reliving her life over and over, or is she, in each reality, tapping into the Ursulas of infinite realities? If you had the ability to change your life, would you? And what would be the repercussions? So many questions are posed by this extraordinary novel that offers no real answers. And for a life that reboots with birth after every death, is there ever really an end? Atkinson is one of my favorite writers, and in this, she's surpassed herself.