Ursula Todd comes in a bar full of German soldiers, kills Hitler, and immediately the others shot her dead. Then she is born but dies at childbirth, so she is born again and makes it until she is a little girl… only to be born again, the same winter day, into the same family, overcoming previous accidents and difficulties that she experienced before.
This could seem a repetitive story, taking into account that Ursula lives many lives, but it’s far from it. In every life the author focuses our attention on a certain aspect of Ursula’s friends and relatives, on how much your life can change in just a second or the chances you have to make a different outcome… But that outcome, is it better or worse? How can we know?
The synopsis of the book asks What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? And that’s the question the book brings up – what is right? We all agree that right might be not dying from illnesses, accidents or violence, but once you are a healthy human being who lives in a safe environment, there are a number of things that bring you joy and happiness, and some necessarily imply that you can’t have the others.
Life after life is not only a thought-provoking book, but also a historical fiction story since most of it is set on World War II, during the London Blitz and, thanks to Ursula’s many lives, we get many different points of view of that period.
However, and this is funny, the end is open to interpretation, and I think the book is prone to, at least, one re-read, thanks to the clues that some of the characters leave throughout the story. I spent some time reading other readers’ questions and comments on GoodReads, because it really leaves you in need of answers. It’s a great story.
Life after life
Paperback, 620 pages
Read my own damn books: 1st