Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A God in Ruins

A God in Ruins

I've enjoyed all of Kate Atkinson's previous novels and I liked A God in Ruins too. It's a companion novel to Life after Life, in which the character Ursula Todd keeps being reborn after death and gets to keep living forward as a new version of herself, unaware that she has already been born and lives again, a strange but interesting premise, for sure. 

In A God in Ruins Ursula's beloved younger brother, Teddy is the main character and we follow him as the author moves back and forth in his life, from the 1920's through the war years and into old age. We hear his story not only in his own voice but also in that of his daughter, Viola and his grandchildren, Sonny and Bertie. It's an intricately structured novel.

However, we need to remember that this is a Kate Atkinson novel and, as the author, she has the power and is at liberty to do what she likes with the characters, to manoeuvre them as boldly as she does in Life after Life. She does not disappoint, but you will need to read to the end of the novel to experience the surprising unfolding of the plot. 

In the meantime, the novel is rich with imagery and details, particularly of the Second World War. It is full of the challenges of living in a constantly changing world, no matter who you are.