Life After Life

“Oh Sylvie,” Hugh said sadly. “Where is your heart?”

Thoughts lalbyka Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Reagan Arthur Books 2013, 544 pages eBook

For the Dock C Book Club “Beginning of the Season” Selection

I didn’t know anything about this one when a friend suggested that we read it together. I committed it to our informal book club* of readers on the boat dock and dived right in.

It’s pretty obvious from the first quotes that it will have a Groundhog Day feel to it – but not that kind of funny. This book is not a comedy even though it isn’t all dark and dramatic, either. I thought it a terrific read.

“What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more” … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” 

- Neitzshe, The Gay Science

The quote above was the in the Introduction to the story. I must have reread this a few times and the beginning of the book a few times more before I allowed myself to settle in and enjoy the ride. Because it did take a bit of concentration – a ‘paying of attention’, especially of the dates for they repeat often. The title 11 February 1910 is used a LOT. But settle in, I did. And I was unable to or grumbly about the times I had to interrupt my reading to do other things. I wanted to read this in one sitting if I could. It helped get me back to a rhythm of reading that I had been missing in the few weeks prior.

“To have so little self-doubt, she thought, what a thing that must be.”

From the Wiki page on Joseph Goebbels; Adolf Hitler with one of Goebbels' daughters.

From the Wiki page on Joseph Goebbels; Adolf Hitler with one of Goebbels’ daughters.

Ursula Todd is a sensible character and I really liked her. I cried with her; I cheered for her. If one can wish for rest for a fictional character, I’d do that, too.

Five slices of pie. Meat pies, pork pies, plum pies and mince.

“They bought meat pies and fried potatoes and apple turnovers and ate them sitting on a rug on the sand with backs against the rocks.”

“Ursula made an abstemious** cottage pie, followed by baked apples and custard.”

I think I will be reading more Kate Atkinson. Any suggestions?

“Ursula was left to stare at the floral wallpaper. She had never noticed before that the flowers were wisteria, the same flower that grew on the arch over the back porch. This must be what in literature was referred to as “deflowering,” she thought. It had always sounded like a rather pretty word.”  

wisteriaHHH

PLEASE CLICK OVER TO the BOOK FOOL’s review cuz it is awesome and will tell you much more about this cool book…

* My Dock C Book Club has never officially met to discuss a book. Yet. We’ve read The Reliable Wife and Gone Girl.

** abstemious – marked by restraint, especially in the consumption of food or alcohol; also : reflecting such restraint.

HI thIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

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22 Responses to “Life After Life”


  1. 1 Jennifer May 30, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I thought that it would be too gimmicky at first. Nope.

    • 2 Care May 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Honestly, I had NO CLUE what this was about until I started it. I’m odd like that. Which makes me wary to even tell what books are about at all in my reviews and yet, this one might need a bit more cheerleading for some people.

  2. 3 Melissa May 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    CASE HISTORIES!!! That’s the only Atkinson book I’ve read, but I loved it. I can’t wait to read this one.

  3. 5 Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) May 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I’m so excited for this one! I got it awhile ago but I’m saving it for my vacation in a month. I love the sense of anticipation. I’ve never read Kate Atkinson, so I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions.

    • 6 Care May 31, 2013 at 7:01 am

      Kate Atkinson is one of those authors that I *think* I have read but can’t figure out which of her books! so funny/odd. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. (no pressure!)

  4. 7 Bookfool, aka Nancy May 30, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for the link love, Carrie! Guess what? My group loved Life After Life so much that we’re reading another Kate Atkinson book in July. I only know that because I ran into our Fearless F2F Leader, today. Will have to go find out which title we’re reading. Life After Life was my first.

  5. 10 kristi May 31, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I’m in the middle of reading this one so I’m going to come back and read this post when I’m finished. I love Kate Atkinson and I suspect that won’t change after this one. Glad you loved it. The Jackson Brodie series starting with Case Histories, is excellent. I’ve also read Behind the Scenes at the Museum. It’s kind of weird, but I enjoyed it.

  6. 12 Trish May 31, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I really want to read this one and I was hoping that maybe my book club would be interested but we opted for the much lighter Naked by Sedaris instead. Honestly I think we needed something a bit lighter. ;) I’m glad to hear that you loved this one. And while your book club has never officially met it sounds like a fun group regardless. Plum pie. My grandma makes a lovely plum pie.

  7. 14 Chris June 2, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Ok, so I obviously have to read this huh?

  8. 16 aartichapati June 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    I have never read Kate Atkinson before. At the risk of sounding horrible, I think I am turned off by her book covers and book titles, which I KNOW are not really up to her.

    • 17 Care June 3, 2013 at 6:44 am

      That’s OK, I think having appealing book covers is a perfectly acceptable criteria to wanting to read a book or not. Can’t say I even considered it on this one. I only sometimes like or dislike a cover but we all have (or I know I do?) have unexplainable reasons why a book refuses to be considered.
      Did you see the 1930’s cover of Tropic of Cancer? I thought it cool. But found the image after I read the book…

  9. 18 dastevensish June 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I have a couple of her books but have yet to read anything she’s written. Not sure why. The old “too many, not enough” thing, I guess. One day though…because I just really have the feeling I’d like her books.

  10. 20 Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) June 4, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Oh, I’m so glad to see you really liked this book! My husband bought it for me for Mother’s Day, and I’m waiting for my July vacation to read it so I won’t have to put it down. ;)

  11. 22 stacybuckeye June 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    A friend sent me this months ago and the only reason I haven’t started it is the lack of concentration that I seem to have these days. If I could find a day (yeah, right) to read the whole thing I think it might work!


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