I’ve had the pleasure of finishing Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life not two minutes ago. With as many literary journeys as I have taken in my life, I can scarcely say that I’ve experienced one that made me feel so sated and excited all at once.
Atkinson’s tale of birth and rebirth, history as seen again and again through the eyes of her young protagonist, Ursula Todd, weaves in and out of the circumstances surrounding her family and loved ones as both World Wars ravage the European continent.
The winding branches of Ursula’s life and its quantum realities have a way of enveloping the reader and holding them static while reality shifts around them. The melody of déjà vu (or perhaps jamais vu, in many cases), which pervades the tale is at once cheeky and bittersweet, teasing the reader with reminders of roads not taken, while offering room to mourn those mistakes left uncorrected.
As my first venture into the worlds of Kate Atkinson, I look forward to the opportunity to immerse myself further. For now, as with the best stories, the tale lingers at the fringes of my memory, and leaves me with a sentimental longing, and perhaps a tinge of regret for having walked the full measure of the road with no further length to travel.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is available in paper and e-book formats through Amazon.