WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA NOVEL AWARD AND BESTSELLING LITERARY PAPERBACK OF THE YEAR
'Atkinson's finest work, and confirmation that her genre-defying writing continues to surprise and dazzle' Observer
A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – 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.
This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction. Few will dispute that it proves once again that Kate Atkinson is one of the most exceptional novelists of our age.
'A dazzling read...ends on one of the most devastating twists in recent fiction' DAILY TELEGRAPH
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Billed as a “companion novel” to her global bestseller Life After Life, A God in Ruins is one of the most beautiful and unforgettable books we’ve read in a long time. Kate Atkinson is an astonishing writer who paints each scene in saturated colour and microscopic detail. Standing in the centre of her remarkable tale is Teddy, a nature-loving boy turned Royal Air Force pilot turned family man. Hopscotching between different eras in Teddy’s life, Atkinson pierces our hearts with scenes of ordinary family life—rich with clumsy affection and little disappointments—and extraordinary accounts of 20th-century history.
The life expectancy of RAF pilots in World War II was notoriously short, with fewer than half surviving the war. But Teddy Todd the beloved younger brother of Ursula Todd, whose life in all its variations was the subject of Atkinson s Life After Life beats the odds. Inner peace means resuming a life he never expected to have in a now-diminished England. He has nightmares; a wife he loves, although not necessarily enough or in the right way; and, eventually, a daughter who blames him for her mother s early death and never misses a chance to mention the blood on his hands. As much postwar story as war story, the book is also a depiction of the way past and present mix. Atkinson fans know that she can bend time to her will, and here she effortlessly shifts between Teddy s flying days and his middle and old age, between his grandchildren and their awful mother, and back again. And, as in Life After Life, Atkinson isn t just telling a story: she s deconstructing, taking apart the notion of how we believe stories are told. Using narrative tricks that range from the subtlest sleight of hand to direct address, she makes us feel the power of storytelling not as an intellectual conceit, but as a punch in the gut.