The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

The latest from Michelle de Kretser, The Life to Come, is an exploration of the self and relationships, which spans characters and continents. The book follows the lives of five different characters, each intersecting, but worlds (or countries apart).

De Kretser’s presentation of these characters and their world is like looking down the lens of a camera. The picture is clear, and true, and shallow in its reality. She is a master at highlighting the nooks and crannies of a person’s life, showing the depth and cracks and allowing the reader to see how inaccessible they are to those closest, as well as to themselves. The author portrays a world where no one really knows anyone else, and seemingly doesn’t have the ability to share themselves with others. The narrative expresses elements of devotion, loyalty, and even love, yet the book highlights a cold reality—that most desire to be loved, rather than to love.

The Life to Come is a curious book, highlighting the futility of the characters that we create for ourselves and present to the world. There is no hope that these characters will ever understand their own realities or foster the life they want. The reader is left wondering whether these characters can find the love they so deeply desire, or learn how to enjoy a life without it.


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