What can I say? I don’t pretend to be a reviewer (though I have made a few comments about Kate Atkinson’s books in the past). If you have never written a novel you might not readily understand what a masterpiece Life after Life is. I say masterpiece – but a masterpiece was an examination piece produced by an apprentice to prove they had mastered the art. Atkinson is no apprentice. She is a master – so this piece must surely represent the very pinnacle of a writer’s art (hell, this might well be destined for Private Eye’s Pseud’s Corner).
Merely to hold such sequences of events with their myriad of alternatives in your head while you are writing is a mind-boggling feat. To reproduce them on paper in the correct sequence and without muddling the events is nothing short of miraculous.
Be warned. If your imagination is anything like mine then you will have trouble staying dry-eyed through the final chapters. Somehow (like me, she isn’t old enough to have been there) she got it right.