Once and Again

A brilliant novel envisions life as a series of do-overs

Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The dectectives, dogs and doppelgängers of Kate Atkinson's fiction.

In the opening pages of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, an Englishwoman named Ursula Todd shoots Adolf Hitler in the heart as he enjoys a slice of Kirschtorte. The year is 1930, so this means Hitler won't be named Chancellor--won't go on to "lay waste to the world." His cronies kill Ursula the moment she fires, but she knows that the suffering her deed prevents is well worth the cost. The assassination is also an act of vengeance. In previous lives, Ursula has died in the Blitz, lost a brother to an ill-fated Royal Air Force mission and starved in a...

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