A God in Ruins | Penguin Random House Canada

A God in Ruins

Publisher: Anchor Canada
The stunning companion to Kate Atkinson's #1 bestseller Life After Life, "one of the best novels I've read this century" (Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl).
     Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. Her new novel tells the story of Ursula Todd's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband, and father--as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is facing the difficulties of living in a future he never expected to have. The stunning companion to Life After Life, A God in Ruins explores the loss of innocence, the fraught transition from the war to peace time, and the pain of being misunderstood, especially as we age. Proving once again that Kate Atkinson is "one of the finest writers working today" (The Chicago Tribune), A God in Ruins is the triumphant return of a modern master.


30th March, 1944
The Last Flight
He walked as far as the hedge that signalled the end of the airfield.

The beating of the bounds. The men referred to it as his ‘daily constitutional’ and fretted when he didn’t take it. They were superstitious. Everyone was superstitious.

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National Bestseller
New York Times Bestseller

Winner of the 2015 Costa Novel Award
TIME Best Book of the Year
Guardian Best Book of the Year
An NPR Best Book of 2015

Telegraph Best Book of 2015
Washington Post Best Fiction Book of 2015

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Financial Times Best Book of 2015
Seattle Times Best Book of 2015
St. Louis Dispatch Best Book of 2015

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"This book is particularly lovely and melancholy. . . . [Atkinson] is one of those writers that really can make you weep on one page and laugh on the next. . . . She just has such a vast humanity for her characters, this incredible empathy. . . . I don't think I could ever write like Kate." ―Gillian Flynn, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl

"This is a gorgeous novel. . . . Atkinson [has a] marvellously vinegary sense of humour . . . [and] extraordinary grace and control over the story. . . . It is unsettling and exhilarating, and reminds the reader that while the past lives with us at every moment, the future does, too, in every decision made or unmade. . . . Splendid." —The Globe and Mail

"Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins, a sprawling, unapologetically ambitious saga that tells the story of postwar Britain through the microcosm of a single family, [reminds you] what a big, old-school novel can do. . . . It's a masterly and frequently exhilarating performance by a novelist who seems utterly undaunted by the imposing challenges she's set for herself. . . . Atkinson's a sly and witty observer, with a gift for finding the perfect detail." ―Tom Perrotta, The New York Times Book Review 

"Magnificent. . . . In A God in Ruins, she's written not only a companion to her earlier book, but a novel that takes its place in the line of powerful works about young men and war, stretching from Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage to Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. . . . Atkinson's nonlinear storyline enhances the poignancy of time passing. . . . [She] elegantly executes these chronological loop-de-loops, leaving a reader to marvel at that most banal of epiphanies: how fast life goes by." ―Washington Post 

"Only as the book unfolds is each character . . . fully revealed. Ms. Atkinson's artistry in making this happen is marvelously delicate and varied. . . . The main attraction is Teddy, and the way his glorious, hard-won decency withstands so many tests of time. Everything about his boyhood innocence is reshaped by his wartime ordeals, which are rendered with terrifying authenticity. . . . Just know that every salient detail in A God in Ruins . . . is here for a fateful reason." ―Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

"Two years ago I fell in book love with Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. . . . [A God in Ruins] might be even better. Life After Life was a masterful book so you can imagine what Atkinson's done now." ―Elaine Lui, co-host of The Social and author of Listen to the Squawking Chicken

"Triumphant. . . . Such a dazzling read. . . . Possibly more authentic as an expression of how it feels to be alive [than Life After Life]. . . . [an] extraordinarily affecting book." ―The Telegraph (UK)

"Clarion prose that is graphic in detail and possessed of a singular melancholy. . . . Every one of Atkinson's characters will, at one moment or another, break readers' hearts." —Booklist, starred review 

"Like Life after LifeA God in Ruins contains grand themes about life and death and the fall of mankind. But it never sags under the weight of a moral lesson. Atkinson, who is also the author of the riveting Jackson Brodie detective series, is a practised hand at page-turners and sly humour." ―Chatelaine 

"Gobsmacked—and in a good way—is the first word that comes to mind, rapidly followed by masterpiece. The minute I finished A God in Ruins . . . I started it again. The second time around it was even better, more interesting, more revealing. The details Atkinson has woven throughout this novel are incredibly intricate and crafted with expertise by an author who just gets better and better with each book. . . . A stunning achievement." ―The Vancouver Sun

"Atkinson constantly keeps us guessing. . . .  A grown-up, elegant fairy tale, at least of a kind, with a humane vision of people in all their complicated splendor." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"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." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An understated gracefulness . . . endows these pages with an assured, easeful sweep. . . . With her excellent new book, Atkinson reveals just how admirable . . . an ordinary man's life can be, and what heroism lies in living as decently as possible through times that are far from decent." 
Financial Times (UK)

"With A God in Ruins, [Kate Atkinson], once again, proves herself to be a writer of considerable talent. Her command of structure is extraordinary, as is the way she weaves echoes of one character's actions through the subsequent decades and generations. . . . She also shows off a brilliantly brittle sense of humour that on several occasions made me laugh out loud. . . . A God in Ruins stands as a magnificent achievement." ―The Independent (UK)

"Engrossing. . . . Convincing and moving. . . . I doubt that Atkinson's readers will be disappointed." ―The Sunday Times (UK)

"A novel so sublime I would nominate it to represent all books in the Art Olympics. The afterword deserves a literary prize all to itself.  It is, as is claimed on the sumptuous proof, even better than Life After Life." —The Bookseller (UK) 

"A God in Ruins has cautiously been dubbed a 'companion piece,' even though the book stands, often stunningly, on its own. . . . Atkinson writes the way LeBron dunks or Stephen Hawking theorizes; she can't help being brilliant, whether she's describing a sloshed bachelorette party or a midnight bomb raid over Bergen." ―Entertainment Weekly 

"The bombing raids are the heart of the new novel and the best thing in it, the scrupulous research and the technicalities absorbed inside the vivid realisation of the appalling, exacting, exhilarating moment-by-moment experience." —The Guardian (UK) 

"Atkinson follows up her Costa Award-winning Life After Life with a dazzling novel about the genteel Todd family. . . . Compelling." —People 

"Ms. Atkinson rises beautifully to the challenge of dramatizing the raids, capturing the virtually suicidal nature of these operations in muscular, unsentimental prose." ―The Wall Street Journal
"Atkinson's prose is as bright as gunfire. . . . I can't think of any writer to match her ability to grasp a period in the past. No, not even you, Booker-winning Hilary Mantel." ―The Times (UK)

"Atkinson is horribly funny. . . . every page has some vividly original phrase. . . . But the tour de force is her treatment of Teddy's experience as a bomber pilot. . . . She is deeply sympathetic to the emotional force generated in the crews, their rituals, superstitions and tender mercies to each other. It's a really affecting memorial to the huge numbers of bomber crew who died—more than half—but not in the least sentimental. . . . This book will stick like one of your own memories or dreams." ―Evening Standard (UK)

From the Hardcover edition.