The Life to Come: A Novel (Pre-order) by Michelle de Kretser
“The Life to Come is a remarkable achievement . . . . It's a book of myriad miniature overlapping stories, shot through with subtle leitmotifs, which brilliantly captures the expectant thrum of a world where the future is always about to happen.” —The Saturday Paper (Australia)
“With wit and aplomb, Michelle de Kretser unpacks the eloquent silences that surround us to reveal the issues that we deny, suppress and ignore, exposing our flawed assumptions about other people. And she is wickedly funny.” —Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
“Superb, ambitious and deeply moving.” —Geordie Williamson, Weekend Australian
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.The stand-alone yet connected worlds of The Life to Come offer meditations on intimacy, loneliness, and our flawed perception of reality. Enormously moving, gorgeously observant of physical detail, and often very funny, this new novel by Michelle de Kretser reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform and distort the present. It is teeming with life and earned wisdom—exhilaratingly contemporary, with the feel of a classic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle de Kretser was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her family emigrated to Australia when she was a teenager, and she was educated in Melbourne and Paris. She is the author of four previous novels—including the Miles Franklin Award-winning Questions of Travel and the Man Booker Prize-longlisted The Lost Dog—and a novella, Springtime. De Kretser now lives in Sydney with her partner, the poet and translator, Chris Andrews. She is an Honorary Associate of the English Department at the University of Sydney.