A God in Ruins, Kate AtkinsonLearn about the other books on the list.
This is a companion volume to Atkinson’s magnificent 2013 novel Life After Life, a soaring, looping novel about an Englishwoman named Ursula whose life started over every time she died. A God In Ruins (it’s from Emerson: “a man is a god in ruins”) concerns Ursula’s brother Teddy, an RAF pilot who is, statistically at least, immune to death: he survives dozens of bombing runs while those around him perish. Teddy’s traumatic wartime is the engine of this book — the narrative orbits around those years, telling his full life story on either side, touching at times on other members of his family too, but always returning to those thrilling, pounding bombing missions. Compared to the war Teddy’s life is otherwise almost comically uneventful, but Atkinson finds in it fathomless depths of human experience and pathos.