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The new novel by the number one bestselling author.

WINNER OF THE COSTA NOVEL AWARDWhat if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

Reviews

Kate Atkinson’s new novel is a box of delights. Ingenious in construction, indefatigably entertaining, it grips the reader’s imagination on the first page and never lets go. If you wish to be moved and astonished, read it. And if you want to give a dazzling present, buy it for your friends.

Hilary Mantel

There aren't enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound. Wildly inventive, deeply felt. Hilarious. Humane. Simply put: it's ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I'VE READ THIS CENTURY.

Gillian Flynn,no1 New York Times author of Gone Girl, and Sharp Objects

Truly brilliant...Think of Audrey Niffenegger's The TimeTraveler's Wife or David Nicholl's One Day...[or] Martin Amis's Times Arrow, his rewinding of the Holocaust that was shortlisted for the Booker. Life After Life should have the popular success of the former and deserves to win prizes, too. It has that kind of thrill to it, of an already much-loved novelist taking a leap, and breaking through to the next level...This is a rare book that you want, Ursula-like, to start again the minute you have finished.

Helen Rumbelow, The Times

What makes Atkinson an exceptional writer – and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date – is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us.

Alex Clark, Guardian

Merging family saga with a fluid sense of time and an extraordinarily vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force.

Amber Pearson, Daily Mail

Deliriously inventive, sharply imagined and ultimately affecting...The scenes set in Blitz-stricken London will stay with me forever...Atkinson has written something that amounts to so much more than the sum of its (very many) parts. It almost seems to imply that there are new and mysterious things to feel and say about the nature of life and death, the passing of time, fate and possibility.. . [a]magnificently tender and humane novel.

Julie Myerson, Observer

Brilliant...more than just a terrific story about the impact of one existence on another. Atkinson can knock the socks off any rival in terms of skill and style...The tour de force of the book, though, is Atkinson's recreation of the Blitz...unputdownable

Evening Standard

Absolutely brilliant...it reminded me a bit of her first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum, which is one of my most favourite books ever.

Marian Keyes (newsletter)

Stunned with tiredness thanks to Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE. Couldn't stop reading. Terrific novel, may be her best yet. So enthralling, so well written, so beautifully constructed. Really, I can't fault it. Will be one of my books of the year.

Val McDermid (Twitter)

World events, reimagined characters and second chances told with warmth, wit and consummate skill.

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

Startlingly brilliant...endlessly rich

James Walton, Reader's Digest

Life After Life is to be applauded for its inventiveness, and for reminding us of lives vanished without trace or memory in the waste and monstrosity of war.

Literary Review

Atkinson, like Audrey Niffenegger before her with the similarly ambitious The Time Traveller's Wife, is a confident enough writer to bear her high concept along well above water level

Scotsman

Atkinson's great skill is in portraying the exquisite tapestry of [life] with warmth, humour and immense humanity.

Yorkshire Post

one of the most innovative, pacy plots of any recent novel

Psychologies Magazine

Playful, intelligent and beguiling...Astoundingly accomplished

Marie Claire

A profound read that finds light in the darkest times

Glamour Magazine

If you enjoyed The Time Traveller's Wife, you will love this inventive fantasy from the author of the Jackson Brodie series...marvel at Atkinson's skill in carrying off this absorbing feat of imagination.

Sunday Mirror

Atkinson's achievement is to convince the reader that being disorientated about exactly what has happened so far is acceptable and enjoyable...deftly constructed...The innovative narrative structure of Life After Life reasserts the best there is to hope for in human existence.

Times Literary Supplement

Hilary Mantel, a rival for the Women's Prize, once said that Atkinson "delivers to the populace its jokes and its tragedies as efficiently as Dickens once delivered his, though Atkinson has a game-plan more sophisticated than Dickens's". This is Atkinson's best book to date, and she is as worthy as Mantel for the Prize.

Daily Telegraph

She never ducks the sorrows of loss and human cruelty but an optimistic exuberance keeps coming through...This is, without doubt, Atkinson's best novel since her prizewinning debut Behind the Scenes at the Museum...A ferociously clever writer...a big, bold novel that is enthralling, entertaining and experimental...I would be astonished if it does not carry off at least one major prize.

Amanda Craig, New Statesman

Atkinson packs a huge emotional punch...As with Martin Amis’s Time’s Arrow and Ian McEwan’s Atonement, she explores the kaleidoscopic paradoxes of 'what if'.

Catherine Taylor, Daily Telegraph

Life After Life would be very good even if it was simply about the troubles of an early 20th century family and followed a less ambitious, more linear path. Yet it is more than that: a novel that makes you think deeply about the forks of your own life, the truth about dreams and deja vu and the grander scheme of time itself.

Tom Cox, Sunday Express

Highly readable...her description of the Blitz is a tour de force.

Mail on Sundey

Her very best...a big book that defies logic, chronology and even history in ways that underscore its author's fully untethered imagination...exceptionally captivating.

Janet Maslin, New York Times

Electric..very special indeed...extraordinary...tangible and vivid...The paths are endless, but each so affecting that we long to keep this character alive and moving forward.

Australian Women's Weekly

No writer alive makes for better company on the page—knowing, funny, and prodigally inventive… ..Literary and entertaining all at once, Atkinson is a sophisticated artist who also can keep you up well past bedtime, and that double-barreled talent is on display as never before in Life After Life.

Daily Beast

Possibly Atkinson's biggest triumph

Metro

Atkinson imbues her family saga with a fluid sense of time and a vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force.

Mail on Sunday (Summer Reading)

Eccentric and daring...incredibly inventive, and her tricks with time,space and reality are dazzling.

Kate Saunders, The Times (Summer reading)

Brilliant...Frequently heartbreakingand entirely thrilling.

TIME

Marvellous...spellbindingly done.

Wall Street Journal

There are a few books that are so enjoyable that you slow down when you’re reading them, trying to delay the inevitable moment of completion…a voice that is both idiosyncratic and wise, one that sees the world in a distinctive, dark, but oddly consoling way….One of the remarkable things about Life After Life is the way that formal experimentation is combined with a consistently involving plot…Atkinson’s name is conspicuously absent from the Man Booker longlist. I find myself wondering whether Austen would make the lists if she were alive today.

Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph

This is great

Salman Rushdie, The Times

One of those fantastical novels that tells us more about the realities of being human than most realist novels do…the most thrilling and moving experience fiction has to offer this year.

TIME (Top 10 Fiction Books of Year)

Kate Atkinson's audacious novel plays a virtuoso game with the nature of fiction...her best book to date and a worthy winner of a Costa Prize.

Daily Telegraph

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780552776639

    February 3, 2014

    Black Swan

    640 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781409043799

    March 14, 2013

    Transworld Digital

    640 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Kate Atkinson

A God in Ruins
Started Early, Took My Dog
When Will There Be Good News?
One Good Turn
Case Histories
Not The End Of The World
Emotionally Weird
Human Croquet
Behind The Scenes At The Museum

Recommendations

Voyager
The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Beauty in Thorns
The 7th Function of Language
The Award
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Fool Me Once
The Golden House
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Girls
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
The Trip of a Lifetime