This is just going to be a quick one because I accidentally didn’t post my last ToB update when I originally finished it on Saturday.
I am very excited to see The People in the Trees win this round. I’ve already expressed my enjoyment of Atkinson’s Life After Life but I think The People in the Trees is more challenging, more troubling, more thought-provoking. While it may have been less enjoyable to read, it gave more reward for engaging with it and it certainly never shies away from ugly, interesting questions. I also dig its form and have some thoughts on that but I’ll leave that till when it comes round again against The Goldfinch.
To end Life After Life‘s ToB run (for the moment at least) I want to quote Judge Green’s insightful and nuanced comment on Ursula: ‘But what’s most interesting about Ursula is the lives she can’t lead, because she is a British woman born in the early 20th century. She can’t, say, be a fancy higher-up in the Home Office during World War II like her brother. To seek a career is to reject marriage. To be married is to lose sovereignty. Ursula can live again and again, but she can never wake up from history.’