Ursula Todd is born and dies during a snowstorm in England in 1910. The next time she is born in that snowstorm, circumstances change and she lives. And so Kate Atkinson’s compelling novel bears witness to a life and the ability to change it, given a second (or third, or more) chance. Although Ursula dies at the end of each version of her life, she manages to change the outcome the next time around, as one avoided or changed moment dictates a whole different path. It’s a complex idea that Atkinson renders with feminist flare, dealing with rape, spousal abuse, abortion, suffragettes, and more in the context of Ursula’s different paths. We follow her through World War II and watch as the English keep calm and carry on, which Atkinson also shows with humor and style. Slightly elegiac, her writing is descriptive and also provocative: “Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve.” The nonlinear story is hauntingly beautiful and somehow progresses through time—a difficult and original feat. Once I found the rhythm of the writing, I didn’t want the story to end.


Life After Life, $15.97, amazon.com

By Elizabeth Ziff



Grimes-Cover-SmallThis review appears in the Apr/May 2013 issue of BUST Magazine with cover girl Grimes. Subscribe now.

 

Tagged in: Untagged    

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




blog comments powered by Disqus
Facebook_websiteTwitter_websitePinterest_websiteRSS_websiteTumblr_websiteIG_website

Upcoming Events

Hoboken Summer Enchanted Evenings Concert Series
August 21, 2014 (7:00 pm - 9:00 pm)
She Keeps Bees Fall Tour Begins
August 21, 2014 (8:00 pm - 9:00 pm)
AFROPUNK 2014
August 23, 2014 (All Day)
Jessica Delfino with Duckie
August 23, 2014 (9:00 pm - 9:05 pm)
View Full Calendar

Shop The BUSTShop