In the past I've seen novels hyped to the point where I would have been happy to not ever see the title again. I initially heard about this one through Twitter--it seemed like everyone was reading it or talking about reading it--and I took the bait. I listened to people sing its praises, but deliberately kept myself ignorant of the storyline. So... in the spirit, I'm not going to divulge too much.
Set amidst two calamitous world wars, Life After Life depicts some rather weighty topics, giving the reader an intimate glimpse into this era. Atkinson provides gritty details and the ruthlessness that festers during trying times. I was thoroughly impressed with her depiction of the WWII effort because I found it to be presented in such a different light than most war novels that often romanticize the period.
First, I want to emphasize that the hype didn't kill this one. When I finished reading the digital ARC I received from Little, Brown and Co., I immediately pre-ordered a physical copy so I could reread as soon as possible. I strongly suggest getting a hard copy of this one, if you can. I've grown to love my Kindle, but there are some books that just go down better in physical form. It's the type of novel that will have have you flipping back and forth in order to absorb every detail.
I want to offer more because I absolutely fell in love with this novel, but honestly can't give you what you deserve without a reread. While I will admit that it did take me several chapters to get sucked in, I was unable to start anything long after after completing because I couldn't stop thinking about Ursula and her incredible lives. Atkinson proves that she is a creative genius, offering multiple outcomes so vivid and varying that you'll find yourself lost in each new situation. Completely different than anything I've ever read, I can't recommend Life After Life enough. Read it!