Life After Life, Kate Atkinson‘s novel which told the story of Ursula Todd again and again through the twentieth century, was a massive success winning prizes and enthralling readers. For her next book, A God In Ruins, she turned her attention to one of the more minor characters, Ursula’s brother Teddy as his life develops after his time as a World War Two bomber pilot, a life he sometimes didn’t expect to have. I won’t talk more about the plot as the meaning, the essence of the book is revealed in the final chapters but the title comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we wake from dreams”.
Many have lauded this book as Kate Atkinson’s masterpiece and that is how you choose a book of the year I think. Not a thriller that everyone’s talking about or a Twitter-hyped non-fiction memoir, but a novel that will stand the test of time. It’s out in paperback on New Year’s Eve.