“Darkness fell.” So ends – and begins – the many lives of Ursula Todd. Kate Atkinson’s protagonist is born in February 1910 in the midst of a blizzard…and dies with the umbilical cord around her neck, attended by the hapless kitchen maid. The story resets: Ursula is born in the midst of a blizzard – but this time the doctor made it through the snow and saves her life. Ursula dies a variety of deaths in the novel. This ought to be depressing, but Atkinson conveys an atmosphere of hope,...
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