Customer Reviews for

Life After Life

Average Rating 3.5
( 448 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(202)

4 Star

(77)

3 Star

(60)

2 Star

(48)

1 Star

(61)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

81 out of 94 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

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Most Helpful Critical Review

24 out of 52 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

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 review with 2 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    I managed to get through the first 200 pages before I could no l

    I managed to get through the first 200 pages before I could no longer believe I was using my time well.
    The story is so wordy but goes nowhere. There are dialogue pieces in German, French, and Spanish, none of which are translated, which I found to be annoying.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    Not what I thought

    I was very excited about the premise of this story. Unfotunately, it did not get fulfilled. I think the story was confusung at times and the end was very rushed. There was some bouts of brilliance but a lot of times the plots fell flat. Not sorry i bought it but I don't get what all the praise was about. Also there was a lot of German so some puns msy have been lost on me since I don't speak that language. Hope this helps your decision making!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2013

    I've always believed in reincarnation so this book looked exciti

    I've always believed in reincarnation so this book looked exciting at first glance...I'm at page 163 and it's like a durge trying to get thru to something interesting. Maybe I'm missing something here...I don't find it complex, just simple and boring...author will probably throw in a rape pretty soon and maybe Ursula won't even know what happened...go figure!

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    Very disappointing. I agree with whoever wrote that they would l

    Very disappointing. I agree with whoever wrote that they would like the time back that they spent reading this book.
    As for the Overview that states, "breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions", I question whether we read
    the same book.

    6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    I recommend "Case Histories" to all friends and family

    I recommend "Case Histories" to all friends and family in need of a good read. And I'll just as strongly steer them away from "Life after Life." One of the most tedious, emotionally unsatisfying books I've read in quite a while.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    Irritating

    I was fooled by the multitude of praises for this novel. In reality, it is confusing and felt unfinished. Parts of it were interesting, but on the whole, given the chance to relive the moment of purchase- i would pass

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    This was a huge disappointment and a waste of money. I purchase

    This was a huge disappointment and a waste of money. I purchased it based on Gillian Flynn's review (Gone Girl), but it seems as though writers only have stellar things to say about their peers. Kate Atkinson is not even close to being a peer of Gillian Flynn.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    I have to say that I hated this book.  After a couple hundred pa

    I have to say that I hated this book.  After a couple hundred pages of boring, tedious, ridiculous prose, I started to just skim through it.  And sadly it got worse and worse. I imagine the author was trying to write a modern avant garde novel, but in my opinion, it fell flat on its modern face.  I agree with the previous reviewers who said they didn't understand much of the book--and before someone implies that we're stupid, I have a doctorate degree in literature and can analyze pretty well, yet I found this one sappy and just plain long.  Very, very disappointing.  I don't think I want to read another book by this author.  

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    I usually think of myself as a fairly intelligient person, but n

    I usually think of myself as a fairly intelligient person, but now I'm not so sure. After plodding through this whole book, I'm still now sure what happened. Some parts were okay. I do like to read historical fiction, but other than that, I found this book to be a bit of a chore, plus not being able to understand some of it and especially the ending is infuriating!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    I've read about a third of this book and I am debating whether o

    I've read about a third of this book and I am debating whether or not to finish it. It is an okay story, but certainly not an exceptional one. I like books that I can't put down, but this is definitely not one of those.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Beautiful writing, but tedious reading.

    The beautiful and lyrical writing took me through, and was the strength of this novel. The continual 'rebirths' became monotonous.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    Interesting concept but after awhile - after Ursula 4th or 5th d

    Interesting concept but after awhile - after Ursula 4th or 5th death - it just got tedious. I slogged my way through it till it ended and wished I had Ursula's ability to go back, start over and skip this book. I do not understand why it has had such praised heaped on it. Pass on reading this.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Tried, But Couldn't Stay With It!

    This book is so boring. I tried to continue reading it, but after a long while of hoping it would get better, I finally gave up and chose another book to read. Just when you think it might be going somewhere, it starts all over again. I thought the subject matter is very interesting, and I did like the parts where past events were altered, but it reminded me too much of Groundhog Day, another boring thing I suffered through. I couldn't suffer through this one any longer.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2015

    So, so.

    Somewhat confusing at first. Then you get the "gist" of the author's style. Descriptions well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2014

    Pepper's Outfit

    Golden Orange Dress. She has the smell of Peppermint on her. She has glass slipers on. With a crown made out of vines and roses with peppermint leaves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2014

    Disappointed

    I was so excited to finally read this book an ate up the 3/4... then got so infuriatingly bored with it that I put it down for months. I ended up trudging through the end eventually, never truly finding a point.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    Reay

    Runs out of the castle. "MASTER!"

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  • Posted August 1, 2014

    WHAT A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. The problem here is that even with th

    WHAT A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. The problem here is that even with the replaying of life and avoiding multiple mistakes in future incarnations, there is no hopeful message that life can be better or disaster averted. I had to force myself to finish it.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    Atkinson was able to draw me in quickly with this strange story.

    Atkinson was able to draw me in quickly with this strange story. But in the end, it didn't live up to its potential; it was rather tedious. I often felt like I should be taking notes so that I could keep track of all the peripheral characters. They’d be introduced once, not mentioned for several chapters, then casually mentioned again, when you’ve already forgotten their connection to the story – who they’re related to, who they work for, all of it. The same can be said for Ursula’s age – as well as her siblings’ ages – which I eventually did decide to just write down on my bookmark so that I could quickly figure out her age when the story jumped from one year to another. The best thing I can say about it is that with all the changes and deaths, it was almost like reading a new story every time Ursula died.

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