Set in Australia, France, and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is about the stories we tell and don't tell ourselves as individuals, as societies, and as nations. Driven by a vivid cast of characters, it explores necessary emigration, the art of fiction, and ethnic and class conflict. As Hilary Mantel has written, "I so admire Michelle de Kretser's formidable technique-her characters feel alive, and she can create a sweeping narrative that encompasses years and yet still retain the sharp, almost hallucinatory detail."
Pippa is an Australian writer who longs for the success of her novelist teacher and eventually comes to fear that she "missed everything important." In Paris, 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 and can't commit to his trusting girlfriend, Cassie. Sri Lankan Christabel, who is generously offered a passage to Sydney by Bunty, an old acquaintance, endures her dull job and envisions a brighter future that "rose, glittered, and sank back," while she neglects the love close at hand.
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"In this globe- and decade-spanning audiobook, author de Kretser follows a collection of loosely connected characters, most of them Australian immigrants or ŽmigrŽs. As the novel travels from Australia to Sri Lanka and France, and back to Australia, narrator Shiromi Arserio capably moves through a wide range of accents. Pippa, a moderately successful, moderately talented author, is the through line, but de Kretser is more interested in the complexities and contradictions of contemporary life and relationships than the story of any single character. The sizable cast can be difficult to track, and Arserio's consistent inflection does not always provide clues. Her wry delivery, however, perfectly captures the cutting observations about contemporary life. E.C. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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