Life after Life by Kate Atkinson – Reissued by Black Swan, 2015
The author says “people always ask you what a book is about and I generally make something up as I have no idea what the book is about, but if pressed I think I would say that ‘Life after Life’ is about being English”.
I’m not sure about that. In fact I’m not sure what happened to whom and when. I was thoroughly confused by the plot, the chronology and the ending. And if it really was about being English, then it was the sort of Englishness demonstrated by the Mitfords, not by us mere mortals.
The central character, Ursula, dies shortly after her birth in 1910, survives, then is born again. I think.
She falls in love. Or maybe not.
Has a child. Possibly.
By now I think you get where I’m going with this review. And if I’ve given away some of the plot, I apologise.
Family sagas are not my preferred reading but strange as it may seem, although I didn’t really like the book (too many unpleasant characters with too much time on their hands and too little morality), I did find it intriguing, even compelling (sometimes). The critics and the friend who recommended it to me, absolutely loved it, so maybe it’s just me….