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The Resource A god in ruins : a novel, Kate Atkinson

A god in ruins : a novel, Kate Atkinson

Label
A god in ruins : a novel
Title
A god in ruins
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Kate Atkinson
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
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 twentieth 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
Member of
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Costa Novel Award, 2015.
  • LibraryReads Favorites, 2015
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Atkinson calls her latest novel a companion piece to her previous book, Life after Life (2013), which vividly depicted the multiple lives led by Ursula Todd during WWII. This one follows her much-loved younger brother, Teddy. He only leads one life as a husband, father, grandfather, RAF pilot, teacher, and writer, but the ever-inventive Atkinson encompasses many phases of Ted’s life within one chapter. At one moment, we are up in the air with him during one of his harrowing bombing raids (“The dead are legion”), and the next, we are at Teddy’s nursing home, where he resides while in his nineties, witnessing his tenderhearted granddaughter reading to him from his favorite Trollope novel, though he can barely hear. Atkinson often revisits the same scene from a different perspective, adding key details, and always, there is her wry humor. She also continues to write, as she did in Life after Life, about the savagery of war in clarion prose that is graphic in detail and possessed of a singular melancholy. And whether it is the stoic Teddy, his practical wife, his unbelievably selfish daughter, or his neglected grandchildren, every one of Atkinson’s characters will, at one moment or another, break readers’ hearts. Atkinson mixes character, theme, and plot into a rich mix, one that will hold readers in thrall. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Atkinson’s legion of fans, both of her Jackson Brodie mysteries and Life after Life, will be eagerly anticipating her latest, which has a 150,000 first printing and will be backed by numerous promotional efforts, including book-club outreach. -- Wilkinson, Joanne (Reviewed 03-15-2015) (Booklist, vol 111, number 14, p43)
  • In A God in Ruins, we become reacquainted with Teddy Todd, the beloved little brother of Ursula from Atkinson's last book. As with Life After Life, this novel skims back and forth in time, and we see the last half of the 20th century through Ted's eyes and the eyes of his loved ones. At times funny and at others heartbreaking, Atkinson revels in the beauty and horror of life in all its messiness. -- Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT. (LibraryReads, May 2015)
  • /* Starred Review */ The life expectancy of RAF pilots in World War II was notoriously short, with fewer than half surviving the war. But Teddy Todd—the beloved younger brother of Ursula Todd, whose life in all its variations was the subject of Atkinson’s Life After Life—beats the odds. Inner peace means resuming a life he never expected to have in a now-diminished England. He has nightmares; a wife he loves, although not necessarily enough or in the right way; and, eventually, a daughter who blames him for her mother’s early death and never misses a chance to mention the blood on his hands. As much postwar story as war story, the book is also a depiction of the way past and present mix. Atkinson fans know that she can bend time to her will, and here she effortlessly shifts between Teddy’s flying days and his middle and old age, between his grandchildren and their awful mother, and back again. And, as in Life After Life, Atkinson isn’t just telling a story: she’s deconstructing, taking apart the notion of how we believe stories are told. Using narrative tricks that range from the subtlest sleight of hand to direct address, she makes us feel the power of storytelling not as an intellectual conceit, but as a punch in the gut. (May) --Staff (Reviewed February 9, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 06, p)
  • "If he did survive then in the great afterward he would always try to be kind, to live a good quiet life." So muses Teddy, Ursula's brother in the sensational, time-spinning Life After Life , now given his own voice in a novel that unfolds seamlessly yet doesn't hit the operatic high notes of its predecessor. Teddy, likable yet tentative, a poet manqué working grudgingly in a bank, finds the start of World War II something of a relief. In well-wrought passages, Atkinson admirably shows the momentousness of Teddy's wartime work as a pilot without glamorizing it. Postwar, Teddy settles into the quiet life he imagined, marrying childhood sweetheart Nancy, ending up writing for a local paper, and (sadly) having just one child, Viola. Contentious and irritable (indeed, irritating), the grown Viola barely tolerates her own children or her poor old dad. Why she might be so awful emerges late and a little unsatisfactorily as we finally learn what happens to the rather aloof Nancy, whose loss to the family is hinted at throughout. Teddy, though, remains decent to the end of his long life. Or is it? The final chapter leaves one wondering. VERDICT Beautifully written but emotionally withheld; there's more to disappointed lives then just disappointment. [See Prepub Alert, 11/3/14.]— Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed May 15, 2015) (Library Journal, vol 140, issue 9, p69)
  • /* Starred Review */ Fresh from the excellent Life After Life (2013), Atkinson takes another sidelong look at the natures of time and reality in this imaginative novel, her ninth.Transpose Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" to the skies over Europe in World War II, and you'll have some idea of the territory in which Atkinson is working. Ursula Todd, the protagonist of Life After Life, returns, appearing from time to time at just the right moments, in the manner of a chorus. The lead in this story, though, is her brother Teddy, who, having survived both childhood and the air war, is now disillusioned—"The whole edifice of civilization turned out to be constructed from an unstable mix of quicksand and imagination"—and suffering from more than a little guilt that he lives while so many others do not. If Bierce might be a silent presence in the proceedings, so too might be The Best Years of Our Lives, which treats just that issue—save that we know how things turned out for the players in William Wyler's 1946 film, whereas Atkinson constantly keeps us guessing, the story looping over itself in time ("This was when people still believed in the dependable nature of time—a past, a present, a future—the tenses that Western civilization was constructed on") and presenting numerous possibilities for how Teddy's life might unfold depending on the choices he makes, to say nothing of things well beyond his control. Atkinson's narrative is without some of the showy pyrotechnics of its predecessor. Instead, it quietly, sometimes dolefully looks in on the players as, shell-shocked by a war that has dislocated whole generations and nations, they go about trying to refashion their lives and, of course, regretting things done, not done, and undone as they do. But do we really have just one life, as Ursula insists? It's a point worth pondering. A grown-up, elegant fairy tale, at least of a kind, with a humane vision of people in all their complicated splendor.(Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2015)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10401381
Cataloging source
WIM
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Atkinson, Kate
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6051.T56
LC item number
G64 2015
Literary form
fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Life
  • War
  • Great Britain
Target audience
adult
Label
A god in ruins : a novel, Kate Atkinson
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 465-468)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First United States edition.
Extent
468 pages
Isbn
9780316176538
Lccn
2015933947
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 903052583
  • (OCoLC)903052583
Label
A god in ruins : a novel, Kate Atkinson
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 465-468)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First United States edition.
Extent
468 pages
Isbn
9780316176538
Lccn
2015933947
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 903052583
  • (OCoLC)903052583

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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