A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2015
Borrowed from my public library.
The first book I read by Kate Atkinson was When Will There Be Good News? . I remember devouring it, loving the characters, loving the writing. I read all the Jackson Brodie books, and was excited to learn about Life After Life.
It took me weeks to read that book. I kept picking it up and putting it down, not sure if I would ever get through it. I think it was the time shifting, creating a kind of vertigo, much like the main character, Ursula Todd, felt, constantly dying and being reborn. I ended up finishing the book, really enjoying it, and amazed at Atkinson’s writing abilities, at how different Life After Life was from her other novels.
Atkinson calls A God In Ruins a companion piece to Life After Life. I read it over five days, taking it in at a moderate pace. It follows the life of Ursula’s younger brother, Teddy, and lovingly weaves in family members, Teddy’s parents, his wife, child and grandchildren. It also shift chronologically, following the lives of these people in a way I found less jarring, filling in the Todd family story and allowing for mystery, elements of family drama that evolve because of events finally revealed at the end of the book.
There is history it both of these novels, World War II, the blitz, the British and Allied bombing of Germany. Atkinson dug deep, she holds nothing back in her descriptions of the blitz, in the scenes of Teddy and his crew in their Halifax bomber, flying to and from their bombing runs. A God In Ruins is beautifully written, deeply engaging and I found it emotionally honest. I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t read Life After Life.
There, I’ve jumped in, glad to be back in the water. I find myself reading more and more historical fiction lately, particularly World War I and World War II. Not sure what that is about but any suggestions would be appreciated.