***** Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson – Narrated by Fenella Woolgar – This much-praised 2013 novel by English writer Atkinson allows her main character, Ursula Todd, to live her life again and again “until she gets it right.” It begins in 1911, with Ursula’s birth and almost immediate death and takes the character through multiple lives in which her and her family’s fates play out in different ways. Reviewers have different interpretations of Atkinson’s intent, but my interpretation is how near we skate to disaster simply living day to day. Insignificant decisions–whether to walk home with childhood friend Nancy–have significant consequences. It’s well worth a read (or a listen), as the themes of Ursula’s life and the events in it carry increasing resonance. Ursula’s World War II experiences are riveting. (2/19)