read my review here), Kate Atkinson revisits the Todd family with a particular focus on the beloved character of Teddy. In Life After Life, Ursula Todd goes through multiple lives to figure out a way to save her brother from dying during WWII when he served as a bombing pilot. What we are delivered in A God in Ruins is the story of Teddy's life.
I use the word "life" because Atkinson makes it vividly clear to readers that even Teddy, for as good and well-intentioned as he is, is not immune to the heartbreak and suffering that is inherent in life. It took me a long time to finish the book, because every chapter was imbued with tiny heart heartbreaks. Unlike Life After Life, Teddy doesn't get a second chance, so what was tortuous to read in Life After Life became bearable through the element of escape whenever Ursula died and was given the chance to do it all over again. A God in Ruins is an unforgiving and beautiful examination of just one character's life and all of the details that make it relatable, painful, and human.