A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Hiya, This Review Has Been Written By Kelly Pells- a guest writer for my blog. Here is her critique of A God in Ruins. 

This book follows the brother of the main character from Atkinson’s last book, Life After Life, through the trials of the twentieth century. Aspiring poet, RAF pilot, husband, father, Teddy must come to terms with life when he never expected to survive the war.
            There was something oddly comforting in this book, getting lost in the details of someone else’s life. It was easy to get caught up in the rambling prose, carrying you along for page after page. However, for all that, I can’t say I really enjoyed this book. After about fifty pages I realised just how bored I was, and flicking through the 350 pages I had still to read filled me with dread. Thankfully Atkinson’s writing style made it easy to finish fairly quickly.
            Atkinson does write well. She does a great job of creating interesting characters described with vivid detail. She also effectively captures the voices of various ages and genders, from women in their late twenties to eleven-year-old boys.
            There were several faults I found with this book. The lack of chronology is quite annoying. Just when you’re getting fully involved with the characters in one decade, the story jumps into the future, or back into the past. There are also whole sections that aren’t about Teddy, but concern his family members instead. I found this really irritating. I wanted to learn more about the main character. Yes, some of his family members are interesting, but I thought Teddy was supposed to be the focus of the story.
            This is definitely not an uplifting book either. Atkinson seems to have a depressing fixation on death. A God in Ruins is full of illness, sadness and death. This rather takes away from the otherwise comforting rhythm of the prose.
            I wasn’t a fan of Life After Life, so I wasn’t really expecting to like Atkinson’s latest offering. I did prefer A God in Ruins, but this isn’t a book I will be recommending to friends, despite the fantastic reviews I’m sure it will receive from critics.

-Kelly Pells


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