A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson

A God in Ruins is the companion book to Life After Life, a read I thoroughly enjoyed last year. Life After Life follows Ursula and her family as she lives out her many lives over and over again. A God in Ruins follows Teddy, Ursula’s brother in one of these lines, one that Atkinson points out was not written in Life After Life. We follow Teddy throughout his life, back and forth, from when he was a child living at the beloved Fox Corner, through his time during the war as a pilot running missions to Germany and his life after the war where we meet his daughter and his grandchildren.


Unfortunately for me, A God in Ruins had none of the magic that I loved in Life After Life. I found this book tedious to read and as such it took me a week to get through it. I found it picked up in the middle and I didn’t struggle as much from there onwards but I still found this book a chore. I think what made this novel so difficult to enjoy was my lack of connection with the characters. Teddy in Life After Life was a fascinating character and I could not wait to read a story from his perspective. What I found myself with was not who I was expecting. His character didn’t seem to have any of the spark that drew me in initially. I understand some of this is tied into how war can affect those who experienced it long after it is over, however, I just could not reconcile who Teddy ended up as. From there things only got worse. I could not stand the character who was his daughter. She was a reprehensible, selfish character and I did not enjoy reading about her at all, part of what made the book so difficult to get through for me.


Personally I would not recommend this novel. Do pick up Life After Life, it is a beautiful story wrapped in a fascinating concept. Just be aware this is a very different novel. I was prepared for this from the beginning and still could not enjoy this one. There are some great reviews for this one on Goodreads, so some people definitely connected with this novel, however, I was not one of them. I give A God in Ruins two of Teddy’s hares.


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