Customer Reviews for

Life After Life

Average Rating 3.5
( 347 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(160)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(45)

2 Star

(37)

1 Star

(49)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

75 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

When I first read the synopsis of Kate Atkinson's Life After Lif

When I first read the synopsis of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, I immediately wondered how Ursula Todd would come back to life. Would it be like Captain Jack Harkness in the television series Torchwood, where moments after death she'd revive with a huge gasp for air?...
When I first read the synopsis of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, I immediately wondered how Ursula Todd would come back to life. Would it be like Captain Jack Harkness in the television series Torchwood, where moments after death she'd revive with a huge gasp for air? Would it be more like the movie Groundhog Day, with all the frustration that came with not being able to escape the loop? Would she be aware of what was happening? Would other people be aware of it happening to her? No matter how many possibilities I envisioned, I was still surprised by the way Kate Atkinson crafted this plot point. It is handled with ingenuity and originality; never cheesy, never trite. I'm purposely being vague here, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. But I think every time I feel déjà vu in the future, I'll be reminded of this novel...

Much of the story took place in London during the bombings (the "Blitz") of WWII. These pages were terrifying and heart-wrenching. I would start to feel overwhelmed and think, "Is this ever going to stop?" I'd want to put the book down for a while, and then feel guilty. I'd been reading over the course of only two days, and could take a break whenever I wanted. London had 57 nights in a row of bombings. Atkinson gives readers an incredibly vivid portrayal of war, a poignant and multifaceted look at its enormity and how distressing - and wearying - it is for all involved.

Life After Life is beautifully written and reads like a classic. Wonderfully complex, it's a story you could read over and over and always make new connections.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.     

posted by lovelybookshelf on April 2, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

20 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

Long, boring, and depressing. You'd think after so many pages (a

Long, boring, and depressing. You'd think after so many pages (and lives) she'd get at least one right. I want the time I spent of my life on this book back.

posted by Anonymous on April 6, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 347 Customer Reviews
Page 2 of 18
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    When I finished reading this book, I was sure I had missed some

    When I finished reading this book, I was sure I had missed some details, so I started over and read it again. The second reading clarified some things for me, but the ending left me more confused than I was the first time. However, I thought it was an excellent book and well worth my time. I'm sure I will spend a lot of time thinking about it, and I may even read it again in the future.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Confusing.

    Sometimes I thought I was reading the incorrect chapter. Interesting story but too contrived to enjoy the read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2013

    Enchanting!

    Loved it! A whole new take on Einstein's quantum universes.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    It was long and boring. I did not connect with any of the chara

    It was long and boring. I did not connect with any of the characters and couldn't wait for the end. I actually put the book down around page 350 and have no intention of finishing it.

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Interesting journey and thought provoking!

    It was not at all what I expected, but thoroughly enjoyed it once I got into it. An interesting journey and very thought provoking.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    Loved this book! It was so interesting to see the complex view of the London bombings through the eyes of the main character. Highly recommend!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Great Book

    Interesting and well written. Quite a clever plot device is more than well supported by wonderful storytelling. Read it!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2013

    Very good book.

    Kate Atkinson has written a book with a very interesting premise. Ursula Todd dies and always comes back to try again. From 1910 through WWII. Offers many incites into history. I recommend this book !

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Not much about multiple lives

    Very long book mostly about the main character's family life and dealing with WWII. Will be a big disappointment if you expect a lot of the plot to be about Ursula's multiple lives.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    All the reviews by readers have echoed what most reviews of this

    All the reviews by readers have echoed what most reviews of this book said--the over-used phrases "the best book of the year" and "it's a new classic" are actually what is required to describe this book. "Life After Life" takes a concept that, on first description, seems better suited to a playful South American novelist. Instead, Atkinson has used a bit of magical realism to illustrate how women lived between and during the wars. The history is fascinating, but there is plenty of whimsy in it. Ursula Todd in all her possible lives is a great character.  Her family is a source of amusement and as a child, she is haunted by the vision of lives she's already lead. And the reader, having been there with her, has the benefit of a chuckle at her confusion.) 




    As the book goes on, the lives last longer and Ursula, with more of her memory left intact "life after life", is faced with a decision that hinges on a philosophical choice, not unexpected, perhaps, for a woman who turns out to be as tough as flint and so well-read--she loves John Donne and contemplates at one point, that of all the male poets in the English pantheon, he would be her choice for husband. Whose life are you capable of saving? Would you dare save your own? 




    And even if you don’t find yourself asking such questions by the end of the novel, you will still have enjoyed Atkinson’s multiple journeys. 

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2013

    I thought this book was absolutely fabulous. And now that it's

    I thought this book was absolutely fabulous. And now that it's been about a week since I've read it, I find myself walking around with the constant sense that the past is everpresent with me; it's not over, it's just behind the thinnest veil. The connection and roads not taken are still here, impinging on every minute, and everything in life seems very tentative and interconnected--a miraculous and changeable weave. Kate Atkinson is a master storyteller. When I read her it's like watching Picasso draw a single line that turns immediately into a living creation. We know Kate Atkinson's Ursula Todd is entirely fictional, but in her provisionality, she is somehow more than that, much more alive and active in all her variation than all other characters we've read. A truly stunning achievement.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Do not miss reading this book! When I think about what to say r

    Do not miss reading this book!

    When I think about what to say regarding  Life After Life by Kate Atkinson,  the word "Wow" keeps popping into my head.  To begin with, my only reference for Kate Atkinson before I read this book was my desire to read her Jackson Brodie books.  I saw that this book was a standalone book, but with my limited knowledge of the author, I made the assumption that it was a mystery story.  Therefore I was totally surprised once I started reading it. 




    The story centers on the life, or many lives, or Ursula Todd. Ursula is the middle child in a typical family living in the British countryside during the first half of the 20th century.   Since I was expecting a totally different type of story, the first couple of chapters of the book caught me off guard.  It didn't take me very long, though, to get caught up in the story that was unfolding.  The more that I read, the more I became hooked.  I don't think that I have ever come across a story with a premise quite as intriguing and original as this one.  I loved the way that the author used the many lives of Ursula, to illustrate her premise.   The fact that none of her lives were exactly the same and the author’s use of “echoes from the past” to illustrate her point was brilliant in my opinion. I know that on the surface this is a story about Reincarnation, but even more than that, it is a story about the choices we make as we live our lives, and how they affect, not only us, but everyone and everything around us.
      
    Atkinson's writing style was the perfect vehicle for this story. Everything from the structure of her writing, to the way she builds Ursula’s story in successive waves , to the choice of wording that she uses, all blend together to make the story fly off the pages.  She made excellent use of historical reference, beautiful prose, and a dry wit to pull the reader into the story and make them fall in love with her premise.  The characters in the book were amazingly well done, too.  Although they were all typical in some ways, they each had their own little quirks and unusual personality traits, which I loved.  In addition, the way that they interacted and blended throughout Ursula’s many lives lead to many questions about life that I found incredibly intriguing. 




    If the book had any downfalls at all for me, it was the amount of time that Atkinson spent on the dark parts of Ursula's life.  At times I found myself wishing that I was not so immersed in this part, but in the end, I realized that becoming immersed in this part of her life was as necessary for me as the reader as it was for her.  These were the parts of Ursula's life that had the most impact and that drew both her and I to the ultimate conclusion. 




    At first upon finishing the book, I rated it 4 stars, but the more time went on and the events in the book kept popping into my mind, spurring questions and making me look at life in a different way, the more I realized the book actually deserved 5 stars.  In fact, I have had some of the best discussions that I have participated in for a long time in reference to this book.  In addition, it is one of the first books in quite a while that I would anticipate reading more than once. 




    Although I am still excited to read her Jackson Brodie books, I am even more excited to read her first novel, [book:Behind the Scenes at the Museum|28940], which sounds like another book on the caliber of this one. This one is definitely highly recommended.  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in return for my review. 

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    Wow!

    I foolishy thought kate atkinson couldn't get any better and life after life proved me wrong. Family, history, culture, the changing roles of women are all examined through "little bear" I didnt want the story to end and cannot wait to look up all the refernces sprinkled throughout. Ms. Atkinson, I await your next effort with bated breath!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Unique and exceptional! Well written and beautiful!

    Unique and exceptional! Well written and beautiful!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Intriguing

    The story wasn't what I thought and it took me a bit to follow what was happening. No matter I couldn't put the book down and found it interesting with the different lines it took. Definitely worth a read!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2013

    Brilliant! Have you ever, even just once, wondered how your lif

    Brilliant!
    Have you ever, even just once, wondered how your life and those around you would be different had you taken a different path at a decision point, even if it seemed mundane and irrelevant at the time?  This book tells that story for one character (and the subsequent "touch points" to others in her life). The writing style is original and page-turning.  I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Ugh

    I love to read but this was a hard read. I got confused thinking I'd missed pages and that wasnt the case. I'm not sure if I'm disappointed in the book or my reading skills, which by the way I have never had to question before. Ugh, I wish I liked it more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Confusing

    Interesting concept. I enjoyed her childhood. I found the war long and convoluted. I lost track of how old she was and which life she was living. And what was the point of the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    Read after Read

    This book makes your eyeballs fall out!

    It is like no other book I've read and requires at least one reread!

    It is amazing, laugh-out-loud funny, and ruin-your-day sad.

    Atkindon is obviously a great talent and this book is a must-read for any bookie of appetite and taste.

    This author is new to me, but I plan to check out her other novels..
    just as soon as I reread this one!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    It is an interesting concept to write a book about reincarnation

    It is an interesting concept to write a book about reincarnation, yet I found this book to be very confusing. Having the same person live multiple lives in the same time period is somewhat unrealistic for a true view of reincarnation. Perhaps I missunderstood the synopsis prior to purchasing this book. I stopped reading after the first 150 pages.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 347 Customer Reviews
Page 2 of 18