This month I have only read 2 books. But, not bad considering the first book was rather long!
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
This book is about the life of Ursula. Again, and again!
What 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.
I found this book very frustrating initially and quite difficult to get into. The story repeats itself frequently and I became a bit fed up of just getting somewhere and then everything going back to the beginning. Once I’d got through the first 100 pages, things improved and I started to get more interested in the story. I particularly enjoyed the middle part of the book when Ursula is living in London during the Second World War. I loved the idea of this book, but felt that the ‘life after life’ element could have been explored more. It is suggested a few times she is aware of what happens to her, but in no great detail. I would have also liked to have read more about her life after the war. I felt a bit sad at the ending, I don’t think it was the life that I would have expected for her.
It’s a very interesting concept, and I did enjoy the middle parts of the book, so I would say it’s well worth a read. Just grin and bear the start!
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book via the Mumsnet Book Club.
Ten-year-old Abdullah would do anything for his younger sister. In a life of poverty and struggle, with no mother to care for them, Pari is the only person who brings Abdullah happiness. For her, he will trade his only pair of shoes to give her a feather for her treasured collection. When their father sets off with Pari across the desert to Kabul in search of work, Abdullah is determined not to be separated from her. Neither brother nor sister know what this fateful journey will bring them.
And the Mountains Echoed is a deeply moving epic of heartache, hope and, above all, the unbreakable bonds of love.
This story is amazing, I loved Khaled’s other books and so was looking forward to this. I loved the structure of the book – you think it will be just about the story of Abdullah and Pari, but tins more than that – you see how this one story, one decision leads and affects so many other lives. Different characters take over the narration in different forms and I really liked this approach,although it was a bit confusing at first. I found the book made me think of families, of your commitment to your family versus what you want to do in life. How no matter what you do or where you are, your family can be a pull to you, in both a good and a bad way. It was emotional towards the end of the book as things come to a bittersweet conclusion. I loved how each story interweaves and links to the other characters in some way, and how you can learn more about other characters through another’s’ chapter.
This month, I would definitely recommend And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you do in the future!
I usually link up to Muttering Mummy’s This a Month I’ve Read Linky, but I am a bit late this month. Still go and check all the books out this month!