Study Guide

Life After Life Chapter 23

By Kate Atkinson

Chapter 23

A Lovely Day Tomorrow

September 1940

  • This time around, Ursula and Crighton have split up, so Ursula is still living across the hall from Mrs. Appleyard.
  • However, instead of taking shelter in the basement when the sirens go off, she notices a dog cowering across the street, and runs over to protect it.
  • When the bomb falls, the explosion knocks her over and "everything went dark" (23.18)…
  • Except this time, Ursula lives; the dog wakes her up by licking her face.
  • A fireman comes over to check on her, and he looks just like Fred Smith.
  • Unfortunately, the wall of her apartment that's barely standing decides to fall at this moment, crushing them both (and probably the dog, too) and "bringing the darkness down with it" (23.23).

August 1926

  • Instead of reading a book on shorthand, like she did the last time she lived August 1926, Ursula is studying German.
  • Everyone is bored on this long summer day, and Maurice teaches Ursula to shoot, calling her a "real Annie Oakley" (23.28).
  • Ursula goes for a long walk before supper (after being kissed on her sixteenth birthday by Howie, a feat that seems to be a little less rape-y this time) and runs into Nancy and walks her home.
  • On the way to Ursula's house, she bumps into Benjamin Cole on his bike (not literally) and he asks her to a party.
  • He pedals off, and a strange man comes out of the woods and grabs Ursula.
  • She shakes him off and runs, but she doesn't tell anyone about it.
  • Later, she goes to the party but it "was a disappointment" (23.62) because Ben hardly pays attention to her.
  • She brings a bunch of cake back home and shares it with Teddy. Cake makes everything better.