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A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

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Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2015.

Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life, one of the top selling adult books of 2014, explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. A God in Ruins is a masterful companion to Life After Life, and will prove once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the finest novelists of our age.

Costa Judges' comment: “An ambitious piece of storytelling that will entertain and delight.”

If you like Kate Atkinson you might also like to read books by Elizabeth George, Andrea Levy and Helen FitzGerald.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Fans of Life After Life should jump for joy, for this book fleshes out the character of Teddy, Ursula’s younger brother. We jump back and forth from 1925 to 1980 to 1947, to piece together Teddy’s life. The war that had put an end to his dependable career in the bank provided his only moments of heroism as an RAF bomber pilot. After the war, came marriage to childhood sweetheart Nancy, and a life in York, both teachers, which Teddy hated and Nancy loved. Their only daughter Viola, brought only pain; a feckless, selfish individual, she marries the artist son of a wealthy family and they bring up their children, Sun and Moon, in a hippie commune. We feel Teddy’s heartbreak when he loses Nancy, and again when life finally comes full circle and Viola decides he must go into a home. With a denouement that comes like a bolt from nowhere, this beautifully conceived and deeply affecting novel will, once again, leave readers yearning for more.
~ Eleanor MacFarlane


A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

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.


'Triumphant...such a dazzling read...Atkinson gives Teddy's wartime experiences the full treatment in a series of thrilling set pieces. Even more impressive,though, is her ability to invest the more everday events with a similar grandeur...almost as innovative as Atkinson's technique in Life After Life - a possibly more authentic as an expression of how it feels to be ends on one of the most devastating twists in recent adds a further level of overwhelming poignancy to an already extraordinarily affecting book. -- James Walton Daily Telegraph

'This is a novel about war and the shadow it casts even over generations who have never known it, but it is also a novel about fiction...this is a novel that cares deeply about its characters and about the purpose of fiction in making sense of our collective past. A God in Ruins, together with its predecessor, is Atkinson's finest work, and confirmation that her genre-defying writing continues to surpise and dazzle. -- Stephanie Merritt Observer

'With A God in Ruins she, once again, proves herself to be a writer of considerable talent. Her command of structure is extraordinary...She writes with terrific compassion for her characters...also shows off a brilliantly brittle sense of humour that on several occasions made me laugh out my mind, A God in Ruins stands as an equally magnificent achievement.' -- Matt Cain Independent on Sunday

'Horribly funny...every page has some vividly original phrase...But the tour de force is her treatment of Teddy's experience as a bomber pilot, recreated as memorably as the Blitz scenes in Life After Life... nothing can quite account for the imaginative leaps she has made...nailbiting...a really affecting memorial to the huge numbers of bomber crew who died.' Standard

'Better than most fiction you'll read this year...Atkinson's prose is as bright as gunfire in the Second World War sections...I can't think of any writer to match her ability to grasp a period in the past. No, not even you, Booker-winning Hilary Mantel.' The Times

About the Author

Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has been a critically acclaimed writer ever since. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her latest novel Life After Life was shortlisted for several prestigious literary prizes including the Women’s (formerly Orange) and the Costa Novel Prize. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Kate Atkinson

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