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The Life to Come

Fiction: History, Literary
Unabridged   12 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/13/2018

Longlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize
2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award

The Life to Come

A Novel

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684412167
Digital Download ISBN:9781684412174


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 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.

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Product Description

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.


"A thought-provoking novel of both beauty and brains." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“[De Kretser] has again written a perceptive and articulate novel that blends acute observation and well-chosen details to create a sweeping story that is painfully close to home. With fascinating characters and beautifully nuanced writing, The Life to Come is a powerful exploration of the human condition and a compelling examination of how we look at each other and ourselves.” ―Booklist, Starred Review

“While each section can stand alone, together they create a joyful and mournful meditation on the endless small pleasures and complications of life: the difficulties of immigration, the logistics of infidelity, the creativity and insight born of jealousy and spite. In de Kretser’s sure-footed and often surprising prose, life is rendered as something that’s 'tedious yet require[s] concentration, like a standard-issue dream.'” ―Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

Michelle de Kretser is the author several novels—including the Miles Franklin Award-winning Questions of Travel and the Man Booker Prize-longlisted The Lost Dog―and a novella, Springtime. She is an Honorary Associate of the English Department at the University of Sydney.