Daily Archives: April 9, 2014

A Compelling Novel

I (Lydia) have been reading and enjoying the novel Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. The novel invites readers to consider the question: What if you could live again and again until you got it right? This premise is explored through the experiences of the Todd family set against the backdrop of two world wars. Atkinson plays with narrative structure and time by repeatedly re-ordering the past and the present, as protagonist Ursula Todd and others supporting characters experience deaths, near deaths, and frequent chances to begin life anew. Each time the author reimagines one of these lives, the reader is provided with a glimpse into how the alternate choices made by a character can profoundly shift circumstances and outcomes. The novel could be read as book about the practice of writing, the practice of reading, and the complex relationship forged between author and reader. The novel repeatedly reminds the audience of the multiple choices an author makes when weaving together a narrative, and the conscious choices a reader makes to commit, or not, to the path outlined by the author. Overall, the novel provides a compelling and worthwhile read.