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So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernières is a heartbreaking novel about people searching for happiness and fulfillment after the war. The following book club questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, read my preview and review first.
The story follows Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie as they navigate the unsettled time between the World Wars. We also follow Daniel’s brother and Rosie’s three sisters. Each character is trying to find their place in the increasingly modern and unstable world.
So Much Life Left Over is the second book in a planned trilogy. The Dust that Falls from Dreams is the first book and it features the same characters before and during WWI.
Let’s get into the book club questions.
- The story is told from multiple perspectives with short chapters. Why do you think the author wrote this story in that fashion? Do you like short chapters? Why or why not?
- For those who read The Dust that Falls from Dreams, how did the characters change from that story?
- Let’s talk about Daniel and Rosie’s marriage from the start of the novel. Do you believe the death of their newborn son is what pushed them apart or do you think they were always destined to fail?
- In what ways did Daniel and Rosie contribute to the collapse of their marriage?
- Rosie says she won’t divorce Daniel out of religious reasons. Do you think that’s the full answer/reason or is there something more there?
- Let’s talk about the ways the main characters are impacted by not being at war. Can they ever find satisfaction in daily life?
- What did you think of the different settings—Ceylon, countryside England, Germany?
- Why was Daniel so happy in Ceylon but Rosie so unhappy?
- Daniel clearly loves being a father but he has at least three children (one he doesn’t even know about back in Ceylon) that he can’t have the father-child relationship with. Let’s talk about this and how being father brings out the good qualities in Daniel.
- Daniel has quite a bit of affairs, mainly because Rosie wouldn’t divorce him. What did you think about all of his affairs? How did it shape your opinion of him?
- After Rosie’s father dies, the family finds out he fathered numerous other children. What did you think about that section?
- Let’s talk about the sections in Germany and the start of WWII.
- Marriages, life after war, family secrets are some key themes – what other themes did you pick up on?
- How does this story compare to other historical fiction ones you’ve read recently?
- What did you think about the ending? What do you hope will happen in the planned sequel?
Book club must-haves
When you discuss the book with your book club, designate a member to take notes during the talk so you can refer back to it when you discuss the sequel one day. A travelers notebook is a good one to keep on hand. You can buy it from Amazon here. Don’t forget the pens too!
Next on my TBR (to be read) list
The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah is next on my list. Check out my preview here.
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