Book Review of Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
The book Life after Life opens a time-warp into England during the Second World War. The author Kate Atkinson weaves a dreamlike story of Ursula, who dies several times but the author opts to resurrect her again and again, Life after Life. It is beautifully done. Finishing the book, I felt reluctant to leave the world of Ursula her mother Sylvie and sister Pamela. This book is a time machine that bounces even into the private life of Eva and Hitler.
Perhaps this is the best novel about London during the Blitzkrieg.
One has to be patient with good books. Most of them take about 70 pages to create a certain ambience and cast of characters. I got glued to the web of characters in Life after Life somewhere near hundred pages. That is them moment when one really looks at the back cover to read more about the author.
I am cowering now with Ursula in the ruins of a building in London during the night time incessant bombing.
As a writer I feel like a tiny dog perhaps like Jock. I want to bark a good story and run and run around Kate in circles yapping my praise mixed with jealous anger—‘How can you have so much talent?—while we here are eating cake in our literary poverty.
I have also decided that in future any book that I read will henceforth be defaced by me on the last empty blank page with tiny details of the characters as in plays’ cast of characters. That way I will not get lost as I did in A Thousand Years of Solitude with the Antonias and the Buendias.
Sylvie—mother of Ursula.
Hugh – Father of Ursula
Teddy – Ursula’s brother
Izzie – Hugh’s sister.
This listing will make life so much easier while reading great complicated books.
After finishing the book I feel as Kate Atkinson—about the book, ‘everything was ephemeral, yet everything was eternal.’ The book is so English. Kate has the secret map to a treasure of good writing. I am just like the cowboy in the posse who gets shot off his horse right in the beginning. Kate gallops ahead and reaches the gold mine.
Here I am sitting shot and propped up perhaps against a cactus in the desert pulling needles out of my butt as far as I can reach back. The realization of one’s own incompetence is so painful.