A God in Ruins: A Novel (Todd Family)

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9780316176538: A God in Ruins: A Novel (Todd Family)
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The stunning companion to Kate Atkinson's #1 bestseller Life After Life, "one of the best novels I've read this century" (Gillian Flynn).

"He had been reconciled to death during the war and then suddenly the war was over and there was a next day and a next day. Part of him never adjusted to having a future."


Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances and the power of choices, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century over and over again.

A God in Ruins tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather-as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have.

An ingenious and moving exploration of one ordinary man's path through extraordinary times, A GOD IN RUINS proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the finest novelists of our age.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of May 2015: Talk about being your own tough act to follow! Having accomplished a near miracle with Life After Life, in which she used a literary-do-over trope to tell the story of a British woman living between and after the two World Wars, Kate Atkinson now dares to write a companion novel that focuses on Life’s heroine Ursula Todd’s brother Teddy. Never mind that careful readers of the first book came away with the impression that Teddy most often turned up dead, in this one he’s an old man trying to come to grips with his post-War life and with a modern world and family. Switching back and forth in time (Atkinson can’t seem to help it...) between memories of his childhood and his present, Teddy emerges as a befuddled and somewhat stodgy old-man version of himself, a startlingly oblivious husband to stalwart Nancy and a wittily rueful father to a grown up daughter (“Viola was the solitary arrow they had shot blindly into the future, not knowing where she would land,” Teddy thinks. “They should have aimed better.”) Teddy never quite got over the War and he suspects that the “fact” of his being alive is as arbitrary as Ursula’s demise(s). (“He had been reconciled to death during the war and then suddenly the war was over and there was a next day and a next day. Part of him never adjusted to having a future.”) Scenes from his past bring back Ursula and other characters from the earlier book so that readers who’ve come this far with Atkinson will feel a tiny thrill of recognition; but new readers needn’t fear they’re missing the joke. There’s way less gimmick here than in the earlier book, and sometimes I almost longed for more; it was so provocative. But whether read alone or as a follow up, A God in Ruins is a novel to savor, another beautiful, tender and sly Atkinsonian glimpse into the world of a so-called ordinary mid-century British family. --Sara Nelson

About the Author:

Kate Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named England's Whitbread Book of the Year in 1996. Since then, she has written eight more ground-breaking, bestselling books, most recently Life After Life. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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