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[PDF] So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernières


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So Much Life Left Over

Means to achieve their desires Around them the world is changing and when Daniel finds himself in Germany he witnesses events taking a dark and forbidding turnBy turns humorous and tragic gripping and touching So Much Life Left Over follows a cast of uniue and captivating characters as they navigate the extraordinary interwar years both in England and abroad. So much book left overWhen authors come to the second volume in a trilogy they sometimes manage a subtly interwoven catch up which is much appreciated by those of us with less than stellar memories Unfortunately this is not the case here But no matter because a desperately sad and really rather gruesome event early on in the book prevented me from going any further Apologies therefore for not being able to provide a substantial review and my thanks to Harvill Secker for the ARC via NetGalley The Ira War Strategy Tactics and Military Lessons Csis Significant Issues Series Csis Significant Issues Series of uniue and captivating characters as they navigate the extraordinary interwar years both in England and abroad. So much book left Black Blue overWhen authors come to the second volume in a trilogy they sometimes manage a subtly interwoven catch up which is much appreciated by those The Moe Manifesto of us with less than stellar memories Unfortunately this is not the case here But no matter because a desperately sad and really rather gruesome event early Positive Church in a Negative World on in the book prevented me from going any further Apologies therefore for not being able to provide a substantial review and my thanks to Harvill Secker for the ARC via NetGalley

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A sweeping heartbreaking novel following Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie as they navigate the unsettled time between the World WarsRosie and Daniel have moved to Ceylon with their little daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them and to rekindle a marriage that gets colder. A warm hearted saga of two families recovering from World War 1 and catching up with the modernism of the age Daniel is a half Brit half French man who was an aviator in the war and now runs a tea plantation and factory in Ceylon Sri Lanka after independence in 1947 His wife Rosie who met him as a nurse tries to be happy as a mother to their daughter managing the household and promoting better conditions for the poor native workers such as sanitation projects and volunteering at a clinic But ever since giving birth to a stillborn child she has retreated inward to her Anglican faith Daniel is thereby doubly adrift Daniel Pitt and Hugh Bassett suffered from the accident of not being at war Even in a land as beautiful and surprising as Ceylon they missed the extremes of experience that had made them feel intensely alive during the Great War in spite of its penumbra of deathThere is a kind of man who having been at war finds peacetime intolerable because he cannot develop the civilian s talent for becoming obsessed with irrelevant details and procedures and above all he hates the feeling that what he is doing is not importantSPOILERISH AHEADDaniel seeks solace in an affair with a Tamil tea worker Samadara which blossoms into mutual love Delightfully told from both sides Even recognizing the affinity with colonial exploitation it s hard not to root for Daniel to harvest some loving from the oven Meanwhile Rosie soldiers on but despite the birth of another child she can t abide Ceylon any She precipitates a crisis for Daniel when she insists on moving back to England ostensibly to care for her dying father and be closer to her three sisters Not only does Daniel suffer at the prospect of leaving Samadara but also he finds himself dreading the loss of connection to the place its wild beauty weather food and people And the prospects of initiating a flying venture with Hugh He also feels fulfilled and useful working with the factory machines as an escape from human concerns Daniel loved the huge and beautiful machinery in the factory and could not resist rolling up his sleeves and helping the Singhalese engineers when it broke down Machinery was so much easier to deal with than people People were slippery and elusive changeable and moody You thought you understood them and then found out you did not You thought they loved you and then they suddenly turned spiritual or indifferentBACK TO NON SPOILERISHSo that is basically the setup at the beginning Soon we step off into venues first England and immersion in Rosie s colorful family and then Germany and a business venture ill timed for their poor economy and early growth of the Nazis These interludes seemed a bit diffusing and less coherent than the first part of setting the stage but it was a great opportunity for de Bernieres to treat us to his usual panoply for colorful minor characters For example the lowly family gardener Oily Wragge provides us a sardonic perspective on the aristocratic pretensions of Rosie s parents the McCoshes and vivid reflections on his WW1 experience in the Middle East and sense of relief over surviving a brutal time as a POW at the hands of the Ottoman Turks One of Rosie s sister is married to a minister who writes novels that feature necromancy communication with the dead and shocks his superior in the church that the Old Testament God actually is the Devil pretending to be God Another sister Christobel is attuned to the avante garde of the Bloomsbury circle lives in lesbian relationship and schemes for some way to raise children of her own As part of a trilogy one can see the obvious arc of World War 1 in the first phase The Dust That Falls from Dreams at hand for me but unread the interwar period with this and then World War 2 for the finale With that framework one can imagine that some of the apparent diversions here serve to interface the eras as well as to sow seeds for characters who will become important in the volume to come Compared to the drama of the author s wonderful Corelli s Madolin and Bird Without Wings this volume has a satisfying lightness and play about the bounty of life left over after our characters experience world events such as war and the waning of good ship Britannia s empire The humor moves the needle toward his earlier satirical trilogy about a wacky ensemble of characters in South America of which I ve only enjoyed The War of Don Emanuel s Nether Parts but it is of the charming type and doesn t go over the top or break into magical realismThis book was provided for review by Penguin Random House through their First to Read program

Louis de Bernières å 8 summary

Every day However even in the lush plantation hills it is hard for them to escape the ties of home and the yearning for fulfilment that threatens their marriageBack in England Rosie's three sisters are dealing with different challenges in their searches for family purpose and happiness These are precarious times and they find themselves using unconventional. If you have been embroiled in a war in which you confidently expected to die what were you supposed to do with so much life unexpectedly left overThat s the uestion Louis de Berni res seeks to answer in SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER his second novel about the McCosh and Pitt families and their extended circle of friends neighbors servants comrades and others The preceding novel THE DUST THAT FALLS FROM DREAMS followed his large and varied cast of characters during the First World War and the immediate postwar years SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER picks up the story and covers most of interwar period and the early years of the Second World WarI like the broad arc of his story and his prose is always witty and readable The narrative bounces around from character to character and also mixes in letters diary entries newspaper clippings etc This is well constructed clever fiction that is often very funny and often deeply moving It s very hard to put these books down once you ve startedAlthough his large cast of characters and big historical canvas could be a recipe for trouble I find that he juggles it all nicely The characters all emerge from the page as authentic and de Berni res finds a way to humanize them all with great warmth He clearly has a great fondness for his characters some of whom are based on his own ancestors and we can t help but share that But it s that very warmth and fondness that I think is at the root of what s least successful about the McCoshPitt novelsFor all their charm it sometimes feels as if a certain depth is lacking in the two novels There s a prevailing comic tone that doesn t always fit sort of like Pat Barker s First World War novels crossed with P G Wodehouse Despite the hell of war and its aftermath almost everyone is uirky well intentioned and relentlessly decent There s very little true villainy cruelty or cowardice on display Everyone has a stiff upper lip and by Jove these demonstrably good people just get on with it Their eccentricities excesses and mistakes like Hamilton McCosh s string of mistresses or Mrs McCosh s prejudices and boorish behavior are generally forgiven in a spirit of jolly good humor There s a certain falseness in this fictional world of endlessly good motives where nearly everyone obeys the law is stalwart and brave and tries so hard to do the right thing This depiction of the world diminishes some of the emotional intensity his story might otherwise haveFor lack of a better way of putting it the McCoshPitt novels can be a sort of Downton Abbey experience Both share a similar setting in terms of time and place and both show us a Britain that is dealing with the devastation of war and struggling with the massive social and economic changes of the postwar years With both there s a warmth and familiarity and we can t help caring about the fate of these characters through all their triumphs and tragedies loves and heartbreaks In the end both are just so damn likeable and comfortable But both also can ultimately feel a bit slight and leave us wishing for Of course truly terrible things do happen to the characters in these novels There is darkness and despair and we re shown the evil and ugliness that exists in the world There are harrowing depictions of combat and its aftermath People suffer and die And that s where I think SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER may be successful than its predecessor The story get progressively darker and by the end de Berni res doesn t allow the comic relief to overwhelm the sadness He s willing to let us feel it and linger in it Rosie a character who is very sympathetic to us engages in some terrible behavior We see her pain and suffering and understand why she acts as she does but her cruelty isn t minimized or excused This exchange involving a couple in an unlikely adulterous relationship is also illustrativeD When I was younger I had absolutely no idea that it s utterly impossible to live without so much subterfuge so many compromises and secrets and liesC You can perfectly well live a dull life without them but who wants a dull life When I m on my deathbed I don t want to be lying there thinking about all the things I never didTheir relationship is complicated and interesting than those we generally saw in the first novel There s an understanding of the profound hurt and damage that can result from even good choices made with the best intentions SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER has a moral ambiguity and complexity that the first novel sometimes lackedI ll be back for any future installments that s for sure I assumehope that at least a third novel is planned based on how this one ended As I said these books are charming and just so damn likeableThank you to Pantheon Books for a complimentary copy in exchange for an unbiased review

  • Hardcover
  • 288
  • So Much Life Left Over
  • Louis de Bernières
  • English
  • 08 November 2017
  • 9781911215639

About the Author: Louis de Bernières

Novelist Louis de Bernières was born in London in 1954 He joined the army at 18 but left after spending four months at Sandhurst After graduating from the Victoria University of Manchester he took a postgraduate certificate in Education at Leicester Polytechnic and obtained his MA at the University of London Before writing full time he held many varied jobs including landscape gardener motor



10 thoughts on “So Much Life Left Over

  1. says:

    Louis de Bernieres writes a beautiful emotionally heart tugging often humorous epic look at the lives that survived the horrors and losses of WW1 focusing on the inter war years and the human costs incurred at the beginning of WW2 In what is a relatively short novel a large cast of characters their lives decisions and beha

  2. says:

    I may well have enjoyed this book had I realised it was book two of a series with the Novel The Dust That Falls from Dreams being the first in the Series by Louis de Bernieres I picked this one up in hard copy and it didn't state that it was part of a series on the jacket or in the premise which seemed a shame I found the

  3. says:

    A warm hearted saga of two families recovering from World War 1 and catching up with the modernism of the age Daniel is a half Brit half French man who was an aviator in the war and now runs a tea plantation and

  4. says:

    Daniel was a legendary WWI Flying Ace a survivor of the war now facing an immensity of endless days filled with trivialities As a tea manufacturer in Ceylon he has the company of Hugh who was also a pilot in the war and a bright future in an exotic land Daniel's wife Rosie is pregnant with their second child A

  5. says:

    If you have been embroiled in a war in which you confidently expected to die what were you supposed to do with so much life unexpectedly left

  6. says:

    This story sneaked up on me and its full impact didn't hit me until the final chapters Throughout the reading of than two thirds of this I was wondering why I was supposed to care about the characters They felt shallow unsympathetic unlikeable somewhat petty living superficial privileged lives But the I read the

  7. says:

    This is a book with a complex storyline and many different characters Upon reading it I didn't realise it's actually a seuel to another book The Dust That Falls From Dreams I don't feel like I missed anything by not having read the previous book but on the other hand I did struggle at the beginning of the book to get th

  8. says:

    So much book left overWhen authors come to the second volume in a trilogy they sometimes manage a subtly interwoven catch up which is much appreciated by those of us with less than stellar memories Unfortunately th

  9. says:

    After I finished reading The Dust That Falls from Dreams I expressed my hope that Louis de Bernieres would follow it with a seuel as I wasn't ready to let those marvelous characters go Well de Bernieres' latest novel So Much Life Left Over is indeed a seuel and I'm ecstatic It follows the form of its predecessor

  10. says:

    Prepare for infatuation and heartbreak In SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER the reader holds in her hands an entire world where she will become intimates of the men and women on the pages These characters are both traumatized and cause trauma They make awful decisions from the small and foolish to the epically cataclysmic and yet they are

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Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.