From the author of Corelli's Mandolin. The destinies of the four McCosh sisters and their childhood friends in the aftermath of World War I form the foundation of a multiperspective saga embracing fidelity and fertility, empire, belief, and parental love.
...a rich novel ... a superb sequel, one that has the same impressive scope and emotional intensity as its predecessor — plus an infinitely superior title ... The patchwork of perspectives and interspersed letters and newspaper articles lend color, variety and tonal richness to the proceedings. At the end of it all, it is gratifying to find loose ends and intriguing new directions.
So Much Life Left Over spans two continents and 20 years. Its large supporting cast — many of whom get a bash at narrating — are given plenty of troubles of their own — there’s even a shamelessly scene-stealing cameo by Dr Iannis from de Bernières’ most famous novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Yet, while the book is certainly not short of vivid domestic incidents, they tend to pile up rather than provide forward momentum ... The trouble is not (needless to say) that these passages aren’t heartfelt, but that they increasingly seem like an intrusive if understandable autobiographical obsession. At times, they also seem distractingly pointed — not least when his now-adult daughter later assures Daniel that 'Mummy has to live with knowing that she didn’t do the right thing'.
As always, De Bernières writes with whimsical sympathy – except when it comes to Daniel’s relationship with Rosie ... De Bernières has said he is a committed advocate for separated fathers, but I can’t help wondering: why does he use a verbal sledgehammer to make Daniel’s case, when he has written of greater tragedies in a lighter style?