New of­fer­ing not up to author’s best

Bush Telegraph - - Entertainment & Dining - Linda Thomp­son

So Much Life left Over By Louis de Bernieres, Pen­guin Random House, $37

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This is a se­quel to de Bernieres' The Dust that Falls from Dreams.

Set af­ter the Great War, fighter pi­lot Daniel is liv­ing in Cey­lon with his wife and chil­dren. Their mar­riage is rocky, and Rosie wants to re­turn to Eng­land.

Back there, against his will, Daniel finds a bunch of di­verse post-war char­ac­ters. His brother is drink­ing, one of Rosie's sis­ters is des­per­ate to have a child, an­other is liv­ing with a woman.

The mar­riage breaks down and Rosie stops Daniel see­ing his chil­dren, one sis­ter asks him to father a child for her and her fe­male part­ner so off he goes to Ger­many to work with a cou­ple of friends.

There's a dodgy will, af­fairs, deaths


and the buildup to World War II.

It sounds good on paper, but I found the story con­fus­ing, the char­ac­ters a bit oned­i­men­sional. Even the di­a­logue sounds strange, and the telling of the story lurches be­tween first per­son and third per­son.

It's oc­ca­sion­ally funny, and oc­ca­sion­ally sad but never quite draws you in.

De Bernieres is best known for Cap­tain Corelli’s Man­dolin, which won the Com­mon­wealth Writ­ers Prize and Best Book of 1995.

I can't see this one earn­ing the same ac­co­lades. —

Author Louis de Bernieres.

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