New offering not up to author’s best
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.