I will tell you the truth. I read this, in Janet Maslin's New York Times review, and, even though I lurve Kate Atkinson, I thought, "No thanks."
Ursula is the main character in “Life After Life,” but she appears in different, contradictory versions of similar events. She also seems to die at many different times during the book, only to reappear unscathed, as if mortal danger were only a trick of the mind."No thanks," as in Wake me when the ginourmous postmodern novel has arrived at its mystifyingly opaque lack of closure. But I was very, very wrong. If you read it, and you should, Life After Life will be the best book experience you have all summer and, most likely, all year. It's so magical and odd and wonderful and devastatingly un-put-down-able that I don't even want to say more. Except this: it is, strangely, a more linear narrative than it sounds like it would be. And also this: if you're not going to stagger with it to the beach this summer, and you should, then at least put yourself on the wait list at your library and forget about it until they email you a year from now to say it's yours for two weeks.
Another recommendation: my recent advice to listen to Mary Roach's Packing for Mars led to Tabatha's advice back to listen to Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, which we did, in our gazillion-hour car trip to Maine (we paused only long enough to eat lobster rolls at the Kennebunkport Clam Shack and to taste 14 trillion kinds of jam at the Stonewall Kitchen). As long as stories about poop and catastrophic constipation and poop transplants and pooping and chocolate-covered bananas shaped like turds constitute good listening in your family, as they do in mine, I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough. Plus, it gave us a lot to think about, as we experienced those 14 trillion jam-smeared crackers making their merry way through us.
Finally: the unassuming little game Anomia has been cracking us up completely. It's tiny, which makes it a great travel game, and it's very silly, which makes it a great all-ages game. Plus, your children will maintain the sober evening high ground when you face off over the category "vegetable," and they say "zucchini," while you laugh and laugh beerily after blurting only, lamely and illegitimately, "vegetable."
Meanwhile, the summer is flying by. I downloaded photos from our little old camera, and came upon literally dozens that the kids had taken of each other, all of which look like this:
They'd been chasing each other around the house, apparently, even thought they look more like specters in flight.
|Birdy finally settled down in a hut we hiked to in Maine. More on that another time!|