Venue: Jane Edsall’s house in Labastide Saves
Date: Monday 24th April 2017
Contact: Karen Burroughs or Joyce Booth
Details: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel
Reading Group Review – Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
TWIG Reading Group April 2017
An interesting discussion arose from this month’s book choice, even diverging into thoughts about metaphysics, which much be a first.
The book was “Life after Life’ by Kate Atkinson. The blurb on the back cover (another tangential discussion) says ‘What if you had the choice to live your life again and again until you finally got it right?’
Following an interesting prologue in which Adolf Hitler may have been killed in 1933, the book begins with the birth of Ursula Todd in 1910. Ursula has the cord wrapped around her neck and dies at birth. It recommences in 1910 with the birth of Ursula Todd in different circumstances and she survives.
Throughout the book Kate Atkinson uses this construct of a death followed by another life. A what if?
Having life after Life, Ursula dies death after death, experiencing a sense of deja vu from time to time.
The book is basically a family saga, Ursula is the 3rd child in a family of five children who live in some comfort in the south of England with their parents Hugh and Sylvie. We follow their lives (many) and the lives of the people around them from The First World War through to the end of The Second World War. The section dealing with the blitz in London was felt to be particularly well done.
The chapters are fairly short each dated with year and month and it is often necessary to turn back to confirm which life is being lived and which character has reappeared being viewed from a new perspective.
Within the group a minority loved the book in its entirety whilst the majority enjoyed the read but with some reservations.
Most of us felt there was some brilliant writing. Some disliked the format and some found it too confusing and too long in parts.
The Reading Group meets at member’s home on the first Monday of the month 2pm to 4pm to discuss and share opinions on a chosen book in a friendly social atmosphere over coffee and biscuits.
Find below some of the suggested books for our current reading list:
Reading Group Book List
This is the reading group’s current list of books that we plan to read and discuss at future meetings. The books are suggested by members and changes all the time as we regularly update it.
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins – 11th January 2016
The Minituarist – Jessie Burton – 1st February
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons – 7th March
The Aftermath – Rhidian Brook – 4th April
Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson – 2nd May
The Magpies – Mark Edwards – 6th June
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion – 4th July
A Death in the Family – Karl Ove Knausgaard – 5th September
The Green Road – Anne Enright – 3rd October
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain – 7th November
Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch – 12th December 2016
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling – 9th January 2017
The Ginger Tree – Oswald Wynd – 6th February
An Utterly Impartial History of Britain – John O’Farrel – 6th March
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson – 3rd April
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – Hilary Mantel – 24th April
Giving Up the Ghost – Hilary Mantel – 24th April
Too Cose to the Falls – Catherine Gildiner – 29th May
Light across the Oceans – M.L Stevenson – 3rd July
The Dressmaker – Birkelund Oberbuck – 4th September
The House by the Lake – Thomas Harding – 2nd October
The Little Coffee Shop in Kabul – Deborah Rodriquez
Utopia – Thomas More
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski
The Mandibles – Lionel Shriver
US – David Nicholls
Bel Canto – Ann Pratchett
For further information contact Karen Burroughs.