We’re dying from the moment we’re born.
In Life After Life Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have. Goodreads.
One in a half year after I last read the book, and it still is one of the very few books that are close and dear to my heart. I cannot, for the life of me, promised that I could be rationally descriptive when it comes to this book; I fear that my love for this book will never give it the justice that it deserves, sometimes I’m afraid that the overflowing love that I have for this book is what’s stopping me from being able to give the proper review where it is due, but I shall try. Shall I?
You would think that a book about a young man surviving a war that he would never thought would survived would be a boring if not pointless kind of book, but this was more than what meets the eye. This book was so deep, it tackles the questions on a future one thought was never his or her for the taking, the love that one have for others, the loyalty that one keeps for someone, the unconditional love from one own’s offspring, the difficulty and the simplicity of love, the feeling of letting go, the hardship that is to move one from one own’s horrible past and nightmare, and countless of what seems to be so mundane but what shapes our life as a whole. It was also emotional that it speaks of a love that was so pure and innocent that it has no definition but the word love itself, and one would only want to feel it without the burden of naming it.
I remember the first time I read this book, I finished it on a summer evening right about 6 PM and I still couldn’t understand why I cried my eyes out but I did. I remember finishing the book and I just cried. Later on at night I thought about the tears that I shed and I think that I have cried for the story, for Teddy, for the lost chance in loving another person. I’m a firm believer that a good story is the one that can bring tears to its reader without it being a cheap kind of sadness but a profound sense of loss that cannot be put in words, this book is one of the very few books that manage to do so.
The whole book was filled with such beautiful stories, even with the occasional appearance of an annoying character, but the best part was actually the ending. I can’t believe such beautiful story can have an even more beautiful ending. I think that the ending did the book justice. It was both magical and epic in a way that no matter what your views are on the whole aspect of the story, you would love the ending and the story even more. I want to elaborate more on this but for fear of giving out spoilers, I’m just going to reiterate by saying the ending was beautiful and perfect.
While to say that Teddy was my favourite character is a complete bias on my part, Teddy was definitely a reader’s favourite. Give this book a read and see for yourself if you didn’t end up loving Teddy, especially if you’ve read Life After Life. At the other end of the spectrum, I found that I hate Viola so much. Oh, you’re wondering who’s Viola? Do give the book a read to get to know more about Viola. There are moments where I felt like the author went out of her way in making the reader hate Viola, but to be completely honest, Viola was an easy-to-hate character, even from the start.Okay, seriously, everyone should read this book! Regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of historical fiction, this book is a must read. It is beautiful and poignant, it’ll mess up your feelings, it’ll punch you in the guts, it will evoke the deepest sadness and anger and frustration deep within you, but all in a good way.
At the end of the day, I kept on thinking that this book revolves around the topic of death. At first it tackles the question of what does one must do with a future that one thought would never have? If we’re being technical about everything, each and everyone struggles with this question too. We subconsciously think that we all deserve a future, but none of us are capable of looking into the future, so whose to say that we always will have a future? For all we know, our lives might end at right about now.
On that one, there was a saying in the book about the fact that we are all dying the moment we were born. A current event involving a friend from work made this even more surreal. Everyone dies, and not everyone lives; and we all are definitely dying since the moment we were born, for we all don’t know about the future so might as well think of it as a dying process. No, no, don’t think of it as something dark when I said about dying, but we are all dying, especially looking into the current affairs of the world.
Title: A God in Ruins
Author: Kate Atkinson
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, History, Literary Fiction, War