2022 Reading Challenge discussion

Life After Life (Todd Family, #1)
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ARCHIVE 2014 > Life After Life: First 10 Sections

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message 1: by Kara, TBR Twins (last edited May 01, 2014 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3971 comments This thread is to cover the first ten sections of Life After Life:

Be Ye Men of Valor
Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year

Victoria | 4 comments Just finished the first 10 sections, not sure what to make of the book yet but these sections only account for 15% of the book so maybe its a bit too early days for me to have formed a particular opinion.

message 3: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3971 comments That's a great point, Victoria. I forgot how short the first 10 sections were when I was separating them out.

I read this a while ago, but I remember delving in to the first 10 sections quickly. I thought the premise was so interesting and exciting.

message 4: by Victoria (last edited May 02, 2014 08:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Victoria | 4 comments What's intriguing me is the different ways the character dies from dying at birth to drowning to falling off a roof to the Spanish influenza epidemic (several times) and how all of these deaths seemed to be linked to small, seemingly benign bits of behaviour. It would be very difficult to think that a brother throwing a doll out of the window would result in his sister's death or that coming home from a day out in London would cause the death of one or two of the children in the house due to the Spanish influenza virus. I guess for me the main message of the first part of this book is that life is based on small, seemingly unimportant decisions that we are not even aware have a big part to play in the outcome of a particular event.

message 5: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3971 comments Victoria, we assume that everyone in this thread has read the first 10 sections, so you don't need to hide spoilers. :)

Victoria | 4 comments Thanks Kara wasn't sure so wanted to play it safe I'll edit and undo the spoilers

Valerie (nicehotcupoftea) | 150 comments I have finished the first ten sections. I think it is too early to decide if I like the plot device, it doesn't feel intrusive. However I am really enjoying the writing.
Favourite quote so far: "Sylvie was pleasantly surprised by her elder daughter's capacity for monotony. It would stand her in good stead for her life to come."
So true.

Claire  (claire6452) | 691 comments I've also finished the first ten sections, and I have to admit I'm curious as to how this literary device is going to work out. It's certainly a unique approach!

I agree with Victoria's interpretation of the message, and would add that in addition to small decisions, life is sometimes deeply affected by random events as well. There really is no explanation for why a baby's cord wraps around its neck before birth; Bridget could have gone to London and not encountered anyone carrying the flu. Yet both of these random occurrences affected Ursula.

Valerie (nicehotcupoftea) | 150 comments I'm also wondering if I won't be as emotionally affected when a character dies, because I suspect that they don't really die after all. If that makes sense.

Claire  (claire6452) | 691 comments That makes perfect sense, although up to now, it seems to be only Ursula who doesn't really die.

message 11: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 280 comments I also think one thing preventing us from feeling emotionally attached when characters die in this story is that the story tends to reset right after and you don't have much insight into how the family members grieved over them.

I think I'm enjoying the read so far, but I don't feel as drawn into the characters as I normally do when I really like a book. I think I like the style of the book more than the story at this point.

Victoria | 4 comments While I agree that not seeing grief of the family members may be desensitising us to the death of the character at the same time I think it would have to be very carefully done if it was going to be a featured part of the plot. I am reading the last 10 sections at the moment and I have now lost count of the number of times she has died if we had a re-telling of the grief they felt after every death I have a feeling it would get very monotonous and repetitive. The other possibility (and I have no idea if this is right or not as I haven't finished it yet) is that the author might be waiting for a final "permanent" death scene for Ursula where she will then look at the grief of the family, this might, in fact, make their grief all the more emotional and poignant when the reader knows that it is irreversible.

Myles (myles_76) | 32 comments I'm still waiting to see where this all goes. At this point Ursula restarting her life repeatedly, doesn't seem to make much sense. That being said, it should become clear soon I'm assuming.

I do know that Maurice is a major league pain.

message 14: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 280 comments I agree, Myles. The beginning is confusing. I'm about halfway through the next section and, while I don't think there's any clarification about the purpose of Ursula's repeated lives, there seems to be more effort to tie them together. The story gets more interesting too.

message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Reynolds | 2 comments It made more sense to me when I realized that, yes, Ursula's subconsciously-informed actions do change the future--but there are also changes that Ursula had nothing to do with; they just happen differently, as in the sense of 'never stepping in the same river twice' etc.

LyndiLea Hardman (LyndiLeaHardman) | 110 comments After the Flu incident I don't know if I ever want to go to a public gathering again, Scary! The poor girl had one hell of a childhood. It seems she was destined to never make it to her teen years.

Renee (renee255) | 23 comments So far I am enjoying this book. I was really dreading reading it. But it's not as gloomy as the story idea suggest.

message 18: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 280 comments Renee wrote: "So far I am enjoying this book. I was really dreading reading it. But it's not as gloomy as the story idea suggest."

I'm glad to hear you've been pleasantly surprised! I do think that the book manages to avoid being too depressing despite the serious topics that come up again and again (it gets worse in the next section). Perhaps the rebirths give us hope of better things to come.

Renee (renee255) | 23 comments What a neat way to phrase that. :) How do you know which sections you're on with an eReader?

message 20: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn | 280 comments Renee wrote: "What a neat way to phrase that. :) How do you know which sections you're on with an eReader?"

Kara broke the book up into 3 sections for the purpose of the discussion and listed the chapter titles that we would read for each of the 3 parts (first post in each of these discussions). I've been using the chapter titles to guide me, but it can be confusing because the chapters have sub-chapters. If you have a kindle, you can use the go-to function and then look over the table of contents to get an idea of how the book is laid out. That has been helping me follow along with the sections Kara suggested. I think the chapters that have a date as their title are really just sub-chapters.

Albany (albanycarmona) Honestly, the first ten sections of the book had me half annoyed at all the deaths (more common than towards the middle/end) and half intrigued because the deaths were so diverse. It must be fun as an author to find new ways for your characters to die. I was relieved when the story reset after some heartbreaking events, and I guess that's where the desensitizing that someone mentions came in.

ZaraS  *book reviewer | 2365 comments I've just started reading this book a week or so ago and so far I'm enjoying. I've read some reviews on this book and they weren't complimentary largely because of the constant dying and coming back to life of Ursula. Personally I've really loved this bit of the book. I've found it very intriguing and interest grabbing.

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