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The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser
  

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Set across Sydney, Paris and Colombo, this masterful novel explores self-deception and the construction of public personas with scathing brilliance. While the incisively and honestly drawn characters are largely unlikable, their stories are compelling. Their flaws are artfully portrayed, and hold a mirror to many middle class conceits with razor sharp cunning.

This is no conventional contemporary novel in which characters journey down an obvious narrative path, battling obvious obstacles along the way. Rather, it takes in the inner and outer lives of three protagonists, each of whom, in differing ways, are beset by self-delusions. They are connected via Pippa, a writer desperate for success and adulation. She tweets lies about damning reviews from her readers, spinning unfettered criticism into pseudo-self-effacing gold. There are many astute, amusing observations on personal motivation, and the façades we wear to manipulate how we’re perceived by friends, lovers, the world at large. As one character remarks, people have always “presented selective aspects of themselves”, and this novel demonstrates just that with incredible flair. There’s much self-conscious posturing, but little self-awareness, and the portrayal of middle class desperation to appear effortlessly liberal is excruciatingly spot-on. Deeply nuanced, and highly readable, this is an exhilarating breath of fresh air. ~ Joanne Owen

If you like Michelle de Kretser you might also like to read books by Vikas Swarup, Tash Aw and Patrick Flannery.

Synopsis

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people.Profoundly moving as well as bitingly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present. Travelling from Sydney to Paris and Sri Lanka, this mesmerising novel feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary.

Reviews

Exhilaratingly good writing...each page yields sparkling sentences and keen observations. * Literary Review *

A remarkable achievement...wise and abrasive, witty and poignant. * The Saturday Paper *

Superb, ambitious and deeply moving * The Australian *

Her powers of description and evocation are remarkable...Michelle de Kretser has written a comic lament of disarming force. * Sydney Morning Herald

About the Author

Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. She was educated in Melbourne and Paris. She is the author of three other novels: The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case (which won the Commonwealth Prize, SE Asia and Pacific region and the Encore Prize), and The Lost Dog, which was longlisted for both the Man Booker and the Orange Prize and received Australia's 'Book of the Year' Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and the Gold Medal from the Australian Literary Society. She lives in Sydney.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th January 2018

Author

Michelle de Kretser

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Publisher

Allen & Unwin

Format

Hardback
384 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781760296704

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