I originally picked this up because I had b̶a̶m̶b̶o̶o̶z̶l̶e̶d̶ requested an advanced reading copy of the follow up (A God in Ruins) from Little, Brown & Co. So... uh... figured I probably should read Life After Life first. I had heard many great things about this book, but wasn't prepared to be as absorbed in Ursula's journey as I was. Atkinson's use of time is clearly the focal point of the story, but it's her use of art (or "Art", if you're Sylvie)... poetry, literature, music... that really tied Ursula's travels through time together. As usually does. It connects people across different years and places. I think Atkinson really used that truth to bring her readers further into Little Bear's story.
And my favorite part... this felt like a grown up's Choose Your Own Adventure book. Pick wrong, Ursula dies. WHY DO YOU WANT TO KILL URSULA?!?!
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Ursula's world is in turmoil, facing the unspeakable evil of the two greatest wars in history. What power and force can one woman exert over the fate of civilization -- if only she has the chance? Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant -- this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best.