11 February 1910 is a date we re-visit many times in Life after Life. This is when Ursula was born. Each time, one small change makes the difference between Ursula’s life continuing … or not. As Ursula gets older, she becomes more and more aware of these other lives and a feeling of dread settles in her very being each time she ‘knows’ she has to do something differently to evade the falling of the snow and the blackness.
Encompassing WWI and WWII, Ursula and her family are the backbone of the different ‘threads’ and as she gets older, Ursula’s life and relationships outside of the family. Her eccentric aunt Izzie is a wonderful character and is important in quite a few threads.
We experience many different scenarios alongside Ursula, both positive and negative. Sometimes the time continues not far from the time we left, sometimes we jump ahead. This isn’t as confusing as it sounds as it does have structure! I must admit I was trying to think ahead, wondering how the story would tie-up, to have a final conclusion. I won’t give any spoilers but it’s exactly how I thought it might be.
You may have reflected on your life at some point and wondered how differently your life might have been if you had made a different decision, acted differently. You might have thought ‘if only that hadn’t happened’ because it changed the future of everything. This is laid out bare in Life after Life… such a different read which is engrossing and thought-provoking!
I would like to thank Alison Barrow from Transworld Books for offering a proof copy via Twitter.