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“[The Life to Come] has five overlappingstories which, while being character-driven,reflect a particular concern with historyand place. . . . Michelle de Kretser is a writerof unsentimental humanity.”—The Spectator
“A thought-provoking novel ofboth beauty and brains.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Set in Australia, France, and Sri Lanka,The Life to Come is about the stories we telland don’t tell ourselves as individuals, as societies,and as nations. Driven by a vivid cast ofcharacters, it explores necessary emigration,the art of fiction, and ethnic and class conflict.
Pippa is an Australian writer who longsfor the success of her novelist teacher and eventuallycomes to fear that she “missed everythingimportant.” In Paris, Celeste tries to convinceherself that her feelings for her married loverare reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of hischildhood in Sri Lanka, but blots out the memoryof a tragedy from that time and can’t committo his trusting girlfriend, Cassie. Sri LankanChristabel, who is generously offered a passageto Sydney by Bunty, an old acquaintance,endures her dull job and envisions a brighterfuture that “rose, glittered, and sank back,”while she neglects the love close at hand.
The stand-alone yet connected worlds ofThe Life to Come offer meditations on intimacy,loneliness, and our flawed perception of reality.Enormously moving, gorgeously observantof physical detail, and often very funny, thisnew novel by Michelle de Kretser reveals howthe shadows cast by both the past and thefuture can transform and distort the present.It is teeming with life and earned wisdom—exhilaratingly contemporary, with the feel ofa classic.