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So Much Life Left Over

(The Dust That Falls from Dreams #2)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,622 ratings  ·  268 reviews
A sweeping, heartbreaking novel following Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie as they navigate the unsettled time between the World Wars.

Rosie and Daniel have moved to Ceylon with their little daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them, and to rekindle a marriage that gets colder every day.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 5th 2018 by Harvill Secker
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Dorothy I did but I find that this novel stands alone and could be read out of order.

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Louis de Bernieres writes a beautiful, emotionally heart tugging, often humorous, epic look at the lives that survived the horrors and losses of WW1, focusing on the inter war years and the human costs incurred at the beginning of WW2. In what is a relatively short novel, a large cast of characters, their lives, decisions and behaviour are portrayed as times change. Half French Captain Daniel Pitt, well known ace fighter pilot, had never expected to survive the war, and has to resolve the quandr ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I may well have enjoyed this book more had I realised it was book two of a series with the Novel The Dust That Falls from DreamsThe Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières being the first in the Series by Louis de Bernieres.
I picked this one up in hard copy and it didn't state that it was part of a series on the jacket or in the premise which seemed a shame. I found the book very difficult to get into and could not keep track of the characters until half ways through the novel. I was confused by who was who and I didn't find the charac
A warm-hearted saga of two families recovering from World War 1 and catching up with the modernism of the age. Daniel is a half-Brit, half-French man who was an aviator in the war and now runs a tea plantation and factory in Ceylon (Sri Lanka after independence in 1947). His wife Rosie, who met him as a nurse, tries to be happy as a mother to their daughter, managing the household, and promoting better conditions for the poor native workers, such as sanitation projects and volunteering at a clin ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Daniel was a legendary WWI Flying Ace, a survivor of the war now facing an immensity of endless days filled with trivialities. As a tea manufacturer in Ceylon, he has the company of Hugh who was also a pilot in the war, and a bright future in an exotic land. Daniel's wife Rosie is pregnant with their second child.

After the war, Daniel's brother Archie went to India, He is a risk taker and a drunk, in love with Rosie who married Daniel after her fiance died in the war. Rosie's sister Otillie in
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
"If you have been embroiled in a war in which you confidently expected to die, what were you supposed to do with so much life unexpectedly left over?"

That's the question Louis de Bernières seeks to answer in SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER, his second novel about the McCosh and Pitt families and their extended circle of friends, neighbors, servants, comrades, and others. The preceding novel, THE DUST THAT FALLS FROM DREAMS, followed his large and varied cast of characters during the First World War and t
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story sneaked up on me and its full impact didn't hit me until the final chapters. Throughout the reading of more than two thirds of this, I was wondering why I was supposed to care about the characters. They felt shallow, unsympathetic, unlikeable, somewhat petty, living superficial, privileged lives. But the more I read, the more I began to suspect that this was perhaps the author's intention. These people had been intensely involved in WWI and now it's 1920 at the beginning of the book. ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is a book with a complex storyline and many different characters. Upon reading it I didn't realise it's actually a sequel to another book "The Dust That Falls From Dreams". I don't feel like I missed anything by not having read the previous book, but on the other hand I did struggle at the beginning of the book to get the hang of all the characters and who they are, because there are so many.

The characters are all members of the same family, or connected to the family. The main character is
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
So much book left over.

When authors come to the second volume in a trilogy, they sometimes manage a subtly interwoven catch-up which is much appreciated by those of us with less than stellar memories. Unfortunately, this is not the case here. But no matter because a desperately sad and really rather gruesome event early on in the book prevented me from going any further.

Apologies, therefore, for not being able to provide a more substantial review and my thanks to Harvill Secker for the ARC via
Mary Lins
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
After I finished reading, "The Dust That Falls from Dreams", I expressed my hope that Louis de Bernieres would follow it with a sequel, as I wasn't ready to let those marvelous characters go. Well, de Bernieres' latest novel, "So Much Life Left Over", is indeed a sequel, and I'm ecstatic! It follows the form of its predecessor beautifully; a sumptuous cast of characters, well-researched and compelling historical back-ground, exotic locals (India! Ceylon! Kent!) and short chapters to propel the n ...more
Erika Robuck
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Prepare for infatuation and heartbreak. 

In SO MUCH LIFE LEFT OVER, the reader holds in her hands an entire world where she will become intimates of the men and women on the pages. These characters are both traumatized and cause trauma. They make awful decisions--from the small and foolish to the epically cataclysmic--and yet they are profoundly endearing because of their enormous capacities for love. 

De Bernieres titles each chapter, making little stories of them. Narrators and points of view ch
Amanda Bannister
3.5\5 🌟rounded down to 3....
When I picked up this book, I didn’t realise it was the second book in a planned trilogy that started with The Dust That Falls From Dreams. Although it works perfectly well as a standalone, the book description makes me feel I would have enjoyed following the characters through the events of the earlier book first.

In So Much Life Left Over all the characters find themselves dissatisfied to a certain extent with what their lives have become. They are looking for direction, fulfilment, a challenge
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a huge fan of Louis De B ever since he was named as one Granta's Best of Young British Novelists back in 1993. It has been a delight to see how his career has progressed and I have loved everything he has written. ‘So Much Life Left Over’ has not disappointed. It is a captivating and absorbing book both humorous and tragic. What I particularly loved were the small cameos of characters from De B’s other novels, ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ and ‘Notwithstanding’; delightful.

The novel
Richard Newton
There is a good story here, trying to get out from under some very average writing. It felt to me as it Bernieres came up with the story line, and wrote it down as he imagined it, without worrying too much about crafting it into a compellingly written tale.

It's got good bits, but I found the characterisation of many of the people a little 2 dimensional. Additionally, the variations in pace - some detailed descriptions of moments, sometimes huge leaps in time in single chapters - which is a tech
Vivian Stevenson
Thank you to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | Pantheon for allowing me to read an eARC of this. Unfortunately, I got to it very late.
The good news is that I really enjoyed it. I read it in one day, and couldn't seem to put it down. It is the second book in the series, but I didn't seem to have trouble with that. I may even pick up the first one just to see if I actually missed anything.
You follow a cast of characters, which are developed quite well. The main ones are Rosie, Daniel, and their
Sarah Epton
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
My utter frustration with this book came down to characters. I didn't believe any of them. I didn't believe they grew up when they did. I didn't believe they were products of the great war. The dialog was wrong. Their preoccupations didn't ring true. I kept coming back to the conviction that the author wrote a sprawling domestic drama set in, maybe, the 1970s, and then went, no, this needs some period spice! and haphazardly splashed some interwar details around. There were unforgiveable moments ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
So Much Life Left Over seems a somewhat ironic title for Louis de Bernieres’ book, since it seems like the main characters don’t make much of an attempt to truly live life. This book was pretty blah to me, and I don’t know that reading the first book in the series (which I wasn’t aware of) would improve it. This book is told mostly from the point of view of Daniel, a RAF pilot during WWI, and his life after the Great War. The chapters from alternative perspectives don’t really add much to the bo ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
"He thought about how, if you have no faith, there is no meaning in anything unless you put it there yourself."

What a read - intriguing, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and educational.
It's crazy to think how different one's priorities and perceptions must be in times of war.
Also got me thinking about how there are so many different forms of love - some unconventional, some unexpected, some unreasonable. Some painful, others healing, all beautiful.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent sequel to The Dust that Falls from Dreams. This book covers the inter wars years and how the family members cope with making adjustments to their way of life.
It is beautifully written and you can really get to know all the characters. Each has a different lifestyle which makes the book so interesting. I was sorry when it finshed!
Laura JC
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at an airport shop, where the selection is limited, but it said it was set in Sri Lanka (Ceylon at the time of the story), and that interested me. In fact, only the first section of the book is set there, the rest being in England, and a bit of Germany. I always find stories about wartime and pre-wartime Britain interesting, and this was no exception. I enjoyed this book.
Dave Szostak
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
A continuation, or sequel, of the familial lives found in The Dust That Falls From Dreams, but at half the length, making this feel more like brief glimpses and scattered episodes rather than a cohesive whole. The result is a fast read but one less entrancing than its predecessor, though it does not stint on the tragedy.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jasmine Clifton
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, abandoned
With thanks to Random House Vintage via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC. Not for me, I'm afraid.
Megan Jones
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rosie and Daniel have moved to Ceylon with their young daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them, and to rekindle a marriage that grows increasingly colder. However, even in their new life, it is hard for them to escape the ties of home and the yearning for fulfilment that threatens their marriage. Back in England, Rosie’s three sisters are dealing with different challenged in their searches for family, purpose and happ ...more
Viviane Crystal
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Pitt longs for the glory days when he was a Flying Ace in WWII. The camaraderie of his fellow pilots and avoidance of petty squabbles because of the daily reality that some will live and others will die every time they take to the air in battle. Now, the war is over and he is married to Rosie, a former wartime nurse. They live in Ceylon, which Daniel loves and Rosie hates. They have two children whom Daniel adores. Rosie is continuously demanding they return to live in England and Daniel ...more
Rohase Piercy
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
It took me a while to get in to this but I did enjoy it - more so when I realised it was a sequel to The Dust That Falls From Dreams (which I haven't read), and understood why seemingly random characters kept being introduced like old friends. It's gently paced, and told with both compassion and humour, and the author's knowledge of both World Wars is meticulous. The characters are all flawed but (with a couple of exceptions) loveable and we come to care about them deeply. I was particularly ple ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think the best way to review this one is to say that I appreciated it a great deal. Louis De Bernieres is an author who is very comfortable in injecting a good dash of humour to what I thought might be a hard going slog. Although there is indeed some very sad moments, painfully tragic incidents that occurred to the novel's families and to our world during the years between the two world wars De Bernieres also weaves in a number of very comedic laugh out loud scenes that are delightful.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
So Much Life left Over is a captivating and compelling historical fiction novel. The story takes place between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII.

Daniel Pitt was an RAF ace pilot. When WWI ended, Daniel settled in Ceylon with his wife, Rosie, and their daughter. The family was happy there, for a few years, until the second child was born deformed, and died, shortly after birth. Both Rosie and Daniel grieved their deceased baby. Rosie wrapped herself in religion to survive her overwhelming
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the sequel to The Dust That Falls from Dreams, which did not need a sequel. I could basically copy and paste that review, but make it about the times between WWI and WWII.

There are hints of de Bernieres's great sense of humor, like the reading of the girls' father's will in which he leaves money to his 18 or so mistresses and all of their children. But, overall, this is just kind of boring. The main character is super charismatic, but just sort of bounces around, following in the footst
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Play Book Tag: So Much Life Left Over - de Bernieres - 4 stars 4 19 Feb 25, 2019 12:27PM  

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Novelist Louis de Bernières was born in London in 1954. He joined the army at 18 but left after spending four months at Sandhurst. After graduating from the Victoria University of Manchester, he took a postgraduate certificate in Education at Leicester Polytechnic and obtained his MA at the University of London.

Before writing full-time, he held many varied jobs including landscape gardener, motor

Other books in the series

The Dust That Falls from Dreams (2 books)
  • The Dust That Falls from Dreams

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