Born-Again Fiction

'Life After Life'

Kate Atkinson
Little, Brown and Co., $18, 560 pp.

If it is only at its end that a life becomes possessed of shape and definition, that it can be seen in terms of achievement and happiness or the lack of it, then whatever final form it will seem to have taken will be mostly a product of accident. What if things had been different? What if the weather had prevented the doctor from arriving in time to aid a difficult birth? What if I had chosen a different college and never met the love of my life? What if she had? A tiny shift—the fabled...

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About the Author

Paul Lakeland is the Aloysius P. Kelley, SJ, Professor of Catholic Studies at Fairfield University. His latest book is A Council That Will Never End: Lumen Gentium and the Church Today (Liturgical Press, 2013).

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