Nominated by:

Linc Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

Toronto Public Library, Canada

Serres Central Public Library, Greece

Liverpool City Libraries, UK

Redbridge Libraries, London, UK

Timaru District Libraries, New Zealand

Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Norway

Edinburgh City Libraries, Scotland

Biblioteca Vila De Gràcia - Biblioteques de Barcelona, Spain

Publisher of nominated edition:

Black Swan / Doubleday, UK

Little, Brown & Company, USA

Bond Street Books, Canada

A God in Ruins

Kate Atkinson      

 2017 Longlist

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. Those who loved the bestselling Life After Life will recognise Teddy as Ursula Todd’s adored younger brother – but for those who have not read it, A God in Ruins stands fully on its own.

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.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her 2013 novel Life After Life won the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize, voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. It also won the Costa Novel Award, as did her new novel A God in Ruins. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

Librarians’ Comments

A novel that deeply cares about its characters, possibly her finest work.

This compassionately written life of a British bomber pilot in the second World War is so vivid you almost feel you were there. Having, against all expectation, survived the hell of war, his only ambition is to lead the life of a kind and decent man, towards his family (vividly portrayed) and all others. Beautifully, beautifully written.

This genre-defying companion piece to Life After Life covers over a century in time and takes war as its subject. This ambitious meta-fiction has a startling twist.

A great book for history lovers and especially for those who want to take a glimpse into the world of the mid-century British Society.

A God in Ruins is magnificent, brilliant and ingenious, Kate Atkinson’s finest work. It is also a book about the infinite magic of fiction.

Excellent book, Scottish author, recommended by staff and library users.

Kate Atkinson’s novel, A God in Ruins, is a companion to her previous book, Life After Life, which introduced the Todd family of Fox corner. This time the focus is on Teddy Todd. Shifting back and forth in time and spanning nearly a century of Teddy’s life, we see through the eyes of different characters – Teddy, his wife, daughter and grandchildren, different points of view of the same events. The story of Teddy’s childhood, his experiences as an RAF pilot in WW2, as well as his later life and that of his family, is compulsively readable and rich in detail, tracking the changes decades bring to societies and individuals, and the effect this has on their lives.

A God in Ruins is a technically dazzling, emotionally charged, extraordinarily affecting novel about the devastation of war and its ruinous aftermath. The God of the title, Teddy Todd (who played a secondary role in the previous novel, Life After Life), is both a young man whose possibilities have been ruined by war and the God who has rained destruction and ruin from his Halifax bomber. Written with profound humanity and exacting control, the novel flashes backwards and forwards in time, illuminating a life that though left permanently damaged was… (Toronto)

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