I feel a little behind on Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life because I knew a bunch of people raving about it when it came out. Finally, someone let me borrow it (this whole borrowing books thing, which is kind of new to me, is working out very well). It’s a great book!

Ursula, our lovely heroine, comes back every time she dies. Interestingly, she vaguely remembers each death, leading her to make new decisions in each life. These small changes with decisions end up changing each life drastically, taking her on a variety of journeys that are both outlandish and realistic. The story is fantastical yet heavily grounded in the real world.

The reincarnations affect everyone in Ursula’s life and her relationships with them. If you want to dive into complex human emotions and family dynamics, get reading, my friends. Usually, I find a couple of characters to outright dislike or outright adore, but this book made that impossible because Atkinson digs deep into their complexities making them real people who infuriate you and make you sympathize at various times.

The only aspect of the book I was unhappy with was the end because it does not have a tidy, clear ending. Considering the novel is about reincarnation, however, that is probably the point since Ursula’s story can go on forever.

I think I will see what else Atkinson has to offer. I really enjoyed the idea behind this novel, and her writing was pleasant and jarring in all the right places.

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