What if you could go back in time and correct all your mistakes? What if you lost those you loved and could undo what happened? How would you do it?
In the backdrop of WWII, a young British girl embarks on a journey to rewrite life itself. If history is composed of things that happened, the more interesting stories are the ones that didn’t.
Kate Atkinson‘s book Life After Life is a work of art, a literary triumph, and must read for every soldier who wants to undo or remake their history.
The book centers on Ursula who repeats her life through many lifetimes and careers warping time trying to get her life perfectly right.
We join her as she travels through periods of British history from 1910 in Fox Corner to the bombings of London, to the heart of the Nazi Reich or with her in her quiet retirement losing her mind.
We climb the mind altering heights of Hitler’s mountain retreat, watch her fight off a rapist as a child, narrowly avoid a abusive relationship, manipulate adults to avoid their deaths, rescue stray dogs while climbing over dead bodies, liaison with a Navy leader and spend an afternoon with Eva Braun Hitler’s girlfriend as she dangles Ursula’s child over the ledge.
If you’re tired of popular fictions foray into common troupe of main characters with powers or the repeatedly covered history of World War II, Nazi Reich and the British bombing, the book still (like Ursula) rises above the zeitgeist of the present industry.
Atkinson’s imaginative lines are worth savoring as you try to piece together the full story, even as the dark bat of death slowly brings down the curtain.
The author pens some powerful lines as Ursula makes up her mind to kill and rewrite history:
“Her heart swelled with the high holiness of it all. Eminence was all around. She was both warrior and shining spear. She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time”.
There are no mistakes in this novel. Life after Life is a true pleasure.