Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect?

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots

Volume 12 Number 3

Just finished the most interesting book: Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. She's the author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which I absolutely loved. Life After Life is just as good.

Life is full of mistakes, missed opportunities, tragedies and endings. But what if we could go back and try again, and keep trying until we get it right? The same life, every time, but with a moment of recognition, an undercurrent of caution at every crucial moment lived before? It's the snake with the tail in its mouth...the continuity and inevitability of life.

Ursula Todd is born on a February morning in 1910. The cord wrapped tightly around her neck ends her before she begins.

Ursula Todd is born on a February morning in 1910. The cord, though wrapped tightly, is cut in time to save her life which, this time, lasts a little longer.

The date of her birth never changes, but the date of her death is different almost every time.

This book is about more than reincarnation, though: it's about the complicated beauty of family. It's about selflessness, and the gradual awakening toward a larger purpose. The author does something very subtle, very clever with the reader's emotions. I was halfway through the book before I realized that my feelings of anxiety, frustration, doom and perplexity were not simply an independent response - were in fact engineered by her. By the end, I could only marvel at how deftly she turned me into Ursula Todd herself: I didn't so much identify with her, as I took on her experience as my own.

I am crazy about this book. I was sorry when it ended (or did it?), and will be recommending it to everyone.

HSB Book Rating:
Reread? Yes.
Give to Others? Yes.
Bookplate? Yes!



freedomnan said...

You are such an interesting reader of books.

freedomnan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen said...

I've been DYING to read this book!!! I won't read your review until after I've gotten my hands on a copy. :)

Anonymous said...

Second review I've read of this. Onto my book list it goes.

Suelle said...

Going on my "to read" list too! Thanks!

Gwen said...

IT WAS BRILLIANT. Am going back to page 1 tomorrow.