A God in Ruins - by Kate Atkinson

What if the new Kate Atkinson novel was even better than the last...?

A God in Ruins tells the dramatic story of the twentieth century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy, would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather, as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have.

Using a structure that weaves seemingly effortlessly from 1951 to 1993, from 1939 to 2012, this is an epic novel, and a story beautifully told.  Other years and eras are visited, each one fully realised, and each one creating a small pang of loss when the story moves on, forwards or backwards in time. As much about the art of fiction as it is about a family, I took huge pleasure from this finely crafted novel, enjoying the layering of significant events as we experienced them from different perspectives, different people’s points of view, or the same view point from a different time.

Kate Atkinson’s research for A God in Ruins was extensive and scholarly: acknowledgments and sources are listed at the back of the book for future reading and reference, and she tells us in her Author’s Note that there is nothing in the chapters set during the war that isn’t based on something that actually happened.  Yet for all that, or perhaps because her research is so strong and true, it is the imaginative, the artistic, the creative life of the book that stays with us.  This is Kate Atkinson writing at the height of her powers – a joy, from start to finish.

We are discussing A God in Ruins at our Random Reading Group on Wednesday, 24 June at 7.30pm as part of our celebrations for Independent Bookshop Week. We will meet around the table, with plenty of wine, nibbles, good conversation and great company.  Everyone is warmly welcome. The group will cost £7 per person and A God in Ruins can be pre-ordered from Wenlock Books - we even have a limited number of signed copies for the first takers!