I love all of Kate Atkinson’s books and have reviewed a fair few of them on this blog. Life After Life is one of my favourite books ever, so I was very pleased to see A God in Ruins, which is described as a ‘companion book’ to Life After Life.
A God in Ruins is the life story of Teddy, beloved younger brother of Ursula from Life After Life. Teddy is a fighter pilot in World War II, a husband, a father and a grandfather.
The story moves backwards and forwards through Teddy’s life. The sections where he is flying in World War II are riveting and terrifying and give a real feel for the life of a fighter pilot. The death of his wife, Nancy, is moving and his difficult relationship with his daughter, Viola, is both sad and frustrating. But it is his perhaps the stories of his relationship with his grandchildren which are the most moving of all.
By anyone’s standards, A God in Ruins is a very, very good book. But I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s not as good as Life After Life, which is a very special book and on a whole different level from pretty much any novel ever.
I enjoyed A God in Ruins more and more as it unfolded. It doesn’t contain a lot of twists, it’s much more of a straightforward life story, but there’s a twist at the end which brings it much closer to its ‘companion book’.
If you enjoy books about family and don’t mind a hefty read (it’s over 500 pages), I would definitely recommend this book. You don’t have to have read Life After Life to enjoy it or understand it, but I would recommend you read it too, just because it’s brilliant!