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So Much Life Left Over

by Louis de Bernieres

So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres X
So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2018
    288 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Mary D. (Claremont, CA)

So Much Life Left Over
The title of this book comes from the 'Survivor's Guilt' felt by so many soldiers who survived the Great War (World War I); so very many men had been lost, so many friends, the survivors were not quite sure what to do with 'so much life left over.' For Daniel, a former pilot, it was a life in Ceylon, a place he loved, with a wife Rosie who married Daniel because her intended had died in the war. Their life seems peacable enough until the death of a newborn and then it starts to come unraveled. Around these central characters are assorted brothers and sisters, parents and, on the part of Daniel, other women with whom he seeks comfort when Rosie turns away and subsequently drags him back to England.

Each chapter of the book is told from the perspective of a different character, yet the chapters all follow sequentially. Sometimes, when an author uses this method of writing, the sequence or train of thought may be muddled or confused; not so in this case. Louis de Bernieres is a master at this form. His characters are exceedingly well drawn, people we would be interested in knowing, although we may not like some of them. Daniel finds his own way of out a level of despair, while his brother Archie does not. Rosie does, but she clings to her children and religion and shuts out her husband. The book ends at the eve of World War II and once again, these characters must find a new way to continue, to cope and to grow.

I found this book to be all the things a good book should be: happy and exhilarating, sad and frustrating, with a bit of anger for good measure. It was an 'easy' read but by no means simple. The characters were very engaging and I had a tough time putting it down to do daily tasks; I wanted to find out 'what happens next.' I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a more personal take on what the ravages of war can do to a ground of people in an emotional way, and a view taste of British life between the two world wars.
Virginia P. (Tallahassee, FL)

So Much Life Left Over
Set in the time period between the two world wars in Ceylon and then Europe and Great Britain, this story follows the connected characters as they try to make sense of their lives ----lives they did not expect to live. Written by the author of Corelli's Mandolin, Louis DeBernieres , this is an intriguing story of love, grief and loyalty. A Good read.
Donna Rae S. (Saint Joseph, MI)

What Comes After
I suppose every person has trauma in a lifetime. An honestly traumatic event splits a life's timeline. In this book, a main character speaks later in life on the fall out, blessings and damages, of such an event, and the necessity of cherishing the entirety of one's survival and what comes after. It is a stunning, intriguing narrative, and well worth the time and attention one gives to reading it.
Susan (Minneapolis)

How to live the life left over after one expected to die
The book follows a man who was a flying ace in World War One, as well as family members and friends, from the end of the "Great War" into the Second World War. For most of them, the fundamental question in their lives is how to live their best life and be true to their moral beliefs. Peopled with complex and interesting characters, the reader feels privileged to get to know them, flaws and all. We sympathize with their losses and are happy when good things happen to them. Well-written and with descriptions of people and settings that give the reader a very good sense of what it was like to live in those places at those times.
Nancy K. (Perrysburg, OH)

Daniel and Rosie have changed
I really liked this book and it can stand alone even though I just found out that it is a sequel to The Dust That Falls From Dreams.( I intend to read that soon)
Daniel is a returning pilot who served in the First World War for Britain. He is married to Rosie and both must adapt to their new life in the years between World Wars. The author manages to tell their story and many of their friends and family stories using humor and some very sad moments. Book Clubs should love this book as there is much to discuss. I admit it takes awhile to get into the book but stick with it as you will soon not want to stop reading as the characters reveal their true colors.
Florence K.

So Much Life Left Over
A gem of a book. De Bernieres' short, terse chapters move the story along at a rapid and seamless pace. The character development is exceptional.
The tale of the dashing British "fly boys" of World War 1 who expected to be killed in the line of duty provides a different twist to the usual war stories. The fact that some of the flyers survived, and what happens in their post-war lives makes up the essence of the book.
Evidently we didn't learn from history so the book carries the characters to World War II. An engrossing read indeed!


Shirley T. (Comfort, TX)

Review of "So Much Life Left Over"
This is a gripping novel about the effects of World War I on Britons with different backgrounds and experiences. In fifty short chapters the action oscillates between Ceylon, India, Britain and Germany as the British Empire begins to fade and Hitler's Nazis start their march to trigger WW II.
The story is a sequel to De Bernieres' World War I novel "The Dust That Falls From Dreams". The reader can follow those who survived into the unstable years between WW I and the looming WW II. As the main characters, Daniel and Rosie, struggle with their failing marriage there are glimpses of humor in the strange behavior of other family members.
The author is a master at interweaving the sexual infidelity, the generational and racial stresses in the family, the memories of earlier infatuations and the children's competition for parental love. He paints a moving picture of the challenges facing soldiers returning to a precarious civilian life after a war they had not expected to survive.
This evocative book is full of surprises but very believable.
Debra C. (Vienna, GA)

So Much Life Left Over
What a delight! Of the nearly 100 novels I have read in 2018, this is my most loved, enjoyed, and thought provoking read yet, and I do not believe it will be topped...unless, of course, DeBernieres releases a third book in this series. Because I previously read THE DUST THAT FALLS FROM DREAMS, my reading experience was enhanced, but this novel can stand alone.
The continuing British saga of the McCosh and Pitt families, after WWI, is crisply written and historically insightful. As you travel with these characters, observe their unique emotional journeys, and witness the bravery, honesty, happiness, sorrow, and remorse they experience, you cannot help but become captivated with every decision made as each seeks a response to the challenge,"there is a man (woman) who has more to do...who has life left over."
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