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CHARACTERS So Much Life Left Over

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. 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 behaviour are portrayed as times change Half French Captain Daniel Pitt well known ace fighter pilot had never expected to survive the war and has to resolve the uandry of what do with so much life left over The author presents the lives of the families of Daniel who had lost two brothers and his wife Rosie who lost her love Ash in the war as they marry and those with connections to them through these historically turbulent times whilst pondering over the myriad of roads not taken Daniel and Rosie move to Ceylon under British colonial rule running a tea plantation Initially the couple are happy they have a daughter Esther but things begin to disintegrate when Rosie gives birth to a dead son despite going on to have another son Bertie Using religion as an excuse Rosie withdraws from sexual relations with Daniel and refuses to let him have contact with Bertie A frustrated and unhappy Daniel finds himself in a relationship with native girl Samadara whom he grows to love only to have his life shattered by Rosie insisting they return to Britain Full of rage and anger understanding that women are now expected to keep their children in this age he feels he has no choice but to acuiesce to Rosie s demands Through the years Rosie does all that she can to keep the children from Daniel lying and deceiving to ensure this whilst refusing him a divorce that would allow him to marry another woman She has sufficient self awareness of her abhorrent actions but is unable to change course She has three sisters Ottilia who had wasted her life loving Daniel s self destructive brother Archie a lost and haunted man brimming with self hatred finally reaches the point where she is finally able to move on Sophie marries a clergyman but they are a childless couple The bohemian Cristabel settles into a relationship with Gaskell making remarkably unconventional decisions Daniel finds himself loving women but unable to marry given Rosie s intransigence he moves to Germany to see up close the rise of Nazism with Oily Wragge a man tortured and enslaved by the Ottoman Empire in WW1 The onset of WW2 has the characters doing their part in the war effort and inevitably faced with the tragedies that ensue I loved reading this historical novel I was deeply engaged with the narrative and the characters de Bernieres creates and develops However there are flaws for instance in the poor characterisation of Samadara the young woman Daniel loves in Ceylon and in the working class Edward The author is transparently comfortable with writing about white upper and middle class people and it is their lives that are the ones that undeniably matter in the story Nevertheless I did enjoy reading this historical novel with its humour such as the reading of the will of Mr McCosh and the joy to be found in his batty and bonkers royalty obsessed wife Of course there is much tragedy and loss emotionally affecting particularly in the last part of the book After the cliffhanger ending I look forward to reading the final part of this trilogy Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC

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So Much Life Left Over

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. 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 I began to suspect that this was perhaps the author s intention These people had been intensely involved in WWI and now it s 1920 at the beginning of the book When the Great War ended they seemed to founder and even flounder perhaps with survivor s guilt and not know what to do with so much life left overThe story has as its central figure Daniel Pitt former RAF flying ace and war hero now living an expat life in Ceylon with his wife Rosie a wartime nurse It seems to be an idyllic life on the surface but cracks in its perfection soon become visible Rosie for one isn t a happy person and seems bound and determined to make Daniel unhappy too And Daniel denied Rosie s affection seeks companionship elsewhere and elsewhere and elsewhere as the story progressesThe characters unsympathetic and shallow as I found them all did have their appeal When Daniel and Rosie move back to England at Rosie s insistence we have a comedy of errors and manners densely packed with uirky characters The McCosh family of Rosie and her three sisters and their parents Daniel s troubled brother Archie and their mother friends and significant others and offspring of many the McCosh gardener Oily Wragge just had to mention his name an ex soldier who went through a lot during the war and was one of my favorite charactersThere s much here that is funny absurd and ridiculous especially in the part of the book taking place after the Great War and well into the 1930s a time when the characters are trying to adjust to post war life It s entertaining in a superficial way Then with the introduction of WWII the serious finds its place along with the absurd As a matter of fact there are some poignant sad and touching moments in the last third of the book that affected me viscerally giving me a lump in my throatKudos to author de Bernieres for being able to densely pack a short 275 pages book with so much There is social commentary about British colonization and its impact on a country and its natives about the British class system about marriage about war and its impact on countries and individuals about prejudice and bigotry and antisemitism And huge amounts of historical facts and tidbits about the 1920s and 1930s much of it in a somewhat Billy Joel s We Didn t Start the Fire way for high school students in that you might not be familiar with all the info thrown out there rather incidentally but that s what reference books and Google are for rightThe last third of this book with its emotional impact on me saved it from receiving only 3 stars from me This is BTW the second in a planned trilogy The first book THE DUST THAT FALLS FROM DREAMS about these same characters before and during the Great War came out in 2015 The third one obviously still to be released much farther in the future will find them post WWII I imagine The author has me interested enough to read about them a third time whenever that will beOh I almost forgot to mention that a character from CAPTAIN CORELLI S MANDOLIN perhaps Louis de Bernieres most popular work gets a cameo here Won t tell you who That s for me to know and for you to find out

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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. 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 beautifully a sumptuous cast of characters well researched and compelling historical back ground exotic locals India Ceylon Kent and short chapters to propel the novel forward at a perfect pace You do not have had to read Dust to thoroughly enjoy this new novel though it will enhance your experienceThis marvelous cast of characters are entertaining interesting endearing and sometimes frustrating but they are ALWAYS veddy veddy British The dialogue between characters delights me to the core and the Brit wit reminds me again why I love de Bernieres and other veddy British writers eg Chris Cleave who s Everyone Brave is Forgiven is another novel to which I long for a seuel Think Noel Coward esue dialogue and eccentric charactersMost of the characters were neighbors who grew up together outside of London and each suffered losses during The Great War Now these friends and siblings have dispersed and having survived death and destruction no longer expecting to die at any minute they have so much life left over that they must cope with So Much Life Left Over isn t all wit and fun these characters experience tragedy disappointments bad marriages and heartbreak just like real life I felt tears coming just as readily as laughsI ve taken the liberty of casting in my mind some of these characters with British actors here are just a fewDavid Pitt Benedict CumberbatchArchie Pitt James NortonRosie McCosh Pitt Morven ChristieSophie McCosh Fairhead Emily BluntI do think these novels would make for a WONDERFUL TV series The characters are all over the place and the dialogue is already pitch perfect Some examples Now tell me my boy was it you or your brother who was killed in the war And my favorite marriage proposal of all time Do I take it that you ve agreed to marry me I m not racy enough to live in sin So is it yes You haven t asked me properly You want me to kneel in a park In front of all these ducks Yes I suspect that there will be no seuel to So Much Life Left Over because as the story progresses into the 1930s and 40s de Bernieres uite elegantly starts to give us brief glimpses into the characters future which serves to bring some closure for the reader If The Dust that Falls from Dreams left me slightly unsatisfied So Much Life Left Over left me perfectly satisfied AND looking forward to whatever Louis de Bernieres writes next


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

  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 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 n

  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 After the war Daniel's brother 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 over?That's the uestion Louis de Bernières seeks to answer in SO MUCH

  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 I began to suspect that this was perhaps the author's intention These people had been intensely involved in

  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 the hang of all the ch

  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 this is not the case here But no matter because a desperately sad and really rather gruesome event early on in t

  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 beautifully; a sumptuous cast

  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 profoundly endearing because of their enormous capacities for love De Bernieres titles each chapter making litt