Image of Life After Life: A Novel


Image of Life After Life: A Novel

Life After Life employs an unusual format that is only moderately success-ful. The protagonist, Ursula, keeps dying and starting over, so every few chapters the book essentially starts over from a different point. However, the chapter lengths vary wildly from a single page to more than 150 and Ursula isn’t fully aware that she’s being reborn until the end of the novel, so taken as a whole it can feel disjointed. That being said, it’s beautifully written, the characters, especially Ursula, are compelling and each individual tale is quite captivating.

Ursula Todd dies upon her birth during a snowstorm in 1910. Then she’s born again, and embarks on a meandering life that stops and restarts over and over while the world marches toward WWII. Unaware of her past lives, Ursula nevertheless manages to change some detail every time she starts over to avoid her death from the previous go-round. Eventually she figures out what’s happening and, knowing what’s to come, starts intentionally affecting the course of history. (REAGAN ARTHUR, Apr., 544 pp., $27.99)
Reviewed by: 
Leah Hanson