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life after lifeTitle: Life After Life

Writer: Kate Atkinson

Publisher: Reagan Arthur (2013)

Pages: 529p

Bought at: @BaliBooks (IDR 65k)

Reasons I’ve bought this book:
-Rave reviews in Goodreads, international blogs, Amazon etc
-winner of Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction
-@balibooks sold the hardcover version only for IDR 65k!

The Plot:
Ursula Todd is an extraordinary child. She’s born to an English banker and his wife, and dies immediately after her mother delivers her. But she’s reborn, again and again, given many chances to relive her life.

Ursula is born in 1910, and will face two of the biggest wars in the world during her life. She keeps dying and living, trying to survive and learn from her mistakes, even though she never realizes that she’s one of the lucky people who were given a chance to live more than once. Along the way, Ursula starts to try changing the history. The war, the Fuhrer, the apocalypse, it’s an interesting journey to follow her lives- over and over again.

What I like:
I love the way Kate Atkinson told the story. The flow, the beautiful details and sentences. This is my first time reading Atkinson’s book and I agreed with many many people who have praised her masterful writing skill.

I also like the historical facts- and how Atkinson has woven them with her imagination- creating alternate histories throughout the book.

Another highlight is the characters, they are quite amazing. Especially how Ursula develops along the story. From a victim of abusive husband to a wartime hero, you can’t help to fall in love with her.

I particularly love the plot about Ursula’s relationship with her father Hugh. It’s beautiful and sad at the same time, and reminds me of my own relationship with my old man.

What I don’t really like:
The idea is interesting- but not necessarily original. This book somehow reminds me of another book (Replay) that deals with the same topic- reincarnation. But the historical setting of Atkinson’s book made it more serious (and pretentious) compare to its predecessor.

Some of the plots are quite slow- especially the ones in the beginning, where we are forced to relive Ursula’s lives over and over again, with the same stories and even the same endings. It’s too repetitive, and I wish Atkinson would spend more time with the other lives of Ursula, the more significant ones.

Is it recommended?
It depends. For me, this book is decent enough to be read if you want something good in historical fiction. But to tell you the truth, I expected more from this book. Maybe because of all the great reviews I’ve read before, or because of the prestigious Goodreads Choice Award- I don’t know. Something is quite off here and I do hope I could love this book a bit more.