Read The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières Online


In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their worldIn the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood.For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges: torn between her love for two young men, her sense of duty and her will to live her life to the full, she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?Louis de Bernières’ magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as the Edwardian age disintegrates into the Great War, and they strike out to seek what happiness can be salvaged from the ruins of the old world....

Title : The Dust That Falls from Dreams
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781101946480
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 528 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Dust That Falls from Dreams Reviews

  • Kevin Ansbro
    2019-02-07 10:57

    ..I say!Has some sneaky blighter slipped something into Louis de Bernières' cocoa?I am a huge, huge fan of the great man's work, but this, my erudite friends, is de Bernières on auto pilot. This is de Bernières writing while the TV is on in the background.Make no mistake, there is a truly remarkable story here. Problem is it's buried under reams of self-satisfied tedium.It's 200 pages too long and should have been edited down. It's as if his starstruck publishing team, on receipt of his first draft, have phoned him straight back, with the intention of keeping him on board:"Yeah, love it, love it, LOVE IT, Louie babes! No need to change a thing! Mwah! Mwah! And Mwah! Ciao, catch you later, Loozy Woozy!"I was really looking forward to reading this as well. I revere Captain Corelli's Mandolin, as I do his South American trilogy, which is as close to the majesty of Márquez as any writer could hope to get. But this novel never once grabbed me by the cojones and the grasshopper narrative jumps all over the place.Is it well written? Of course it's well written! This is blimmin' Louis De La Soul de Bernières we're talking about here, not some keyboard basher who writes about different shades of something or other.But we've been here several times before, haven't we? A well-to-do British family caught up in the horror of a war (see Birdsong). The battle scenes are extremely well observed, as are the touching moments of beauty forged in the horror of war. A willkommen detail is that German soldiers are humanised. Hurrah! Something the author neglected to do in Capt. Corelli.Even the vernacular misfires at times. Some of the dialogue is pure Downton Abbey-meets-Mary Poppins, and I began to speed read certain boring bits, which is never a good sign.Sorry, Louie babes, It's been a good run but, hey, you're still one of my faves!

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-02-11 09:53

    This is a hard review for me to write because although it was certainly well written, are as all his books, this is such familiar territory, it has been done many times before. An upper class English family during WWI, their neighbors, a young love that matures, and the effect the war has on all involved. The writing was the best I believe in the air fight and trench segments. Letters sent back home during the fighting. Would have liked to have had a more detailed accounting of the nursing that Rosie eventually does, but here the author flailed.It is a good story, a rather long story, a generational type novel that one has to be in particular mood for. Some of the characters were more interesting than others but since the story back home is narrated mostly by Rosie, I think she could have been a little less whiny. I found that very tiresome after a while. So a mixed bag for me, good but not anything out of the ordinary. There were passages of brilliance for sure, those I loved and read more than once. Apparently there will be a sequel to this, since that seems to be where it is headed the way it ended. A book that I was glad to read when I picked it up but that didn't call to me when I didn't.

  • Chrissie
    2019-01-30 16:05

    Parts are boring and so very conventional. Absolutely nothing new, exactly what you have read in a million other historical fiction books about the First World War. Yet my interest piqued as I watched the effect of the war on the McCosh family – father, mother, four daughters (Rosie, Christabel, Ottilie and Sophie) and their devoted servants (Cookie and Millicent) – as well as their two neighbors, the Pendennis and the Pitts, the first with three and the second with two sons living at home. These nine kids grew up together. The book is about life during and after the war. It covers the horrors of warfare and the excitement of battle, reliance on faith and lack of faith as a result of the war, women’s and the lower classes’ changed position in society, belief in the occult, even homosexuality is touched upon. All of the trends that marked the era. Don’t forget the Spanish Flu! It is all here, yet if you have read other books you will not find much new. If it is your first book about this war, and you are looking for a general easily read novel you’ll probably enjoy this. It is clearly a book that will be the first of a series. The characters are not fully developed; there is clearly more to come. Not all the girls are married/settled yet. The father and mother of the girls have on-going issues to be resolved. So far that which has happened is exactly what I guessed would happen after reading a few chapters. Let’s just say very predictable! It is a relatively light read. I can give it three stars because it is has accurate historical details and does have humor. There are funny lines and funny situations. One of the McCosh sisters, Sophie is amusing. She is the smart one really, in my view at least, but she messes up words. She loves fancy words and she uses them incessantly. Every time she enters the scene you know you will be chuckling. It is a puzzle figuring out what she is trying to say! I said she was wise; it is her that says the title of the book. Our life is the “dust that falls from dreams”. Think about that. What can that mean? I liked her. I also liked that she marries a chaplain who questions his faith. Rosie, on the other hand is sure in her faith and she drove me bonkers! Until….. well, I am certainly not going to tell you and anyway I don’t know the end because the story certainly isn’t over. It just ends at a nice spot. I don’t really prefer series, but maybe you do. Without the humor I would have given the book less stars. I liked the mix of deep and light, of humor and sad. You should see the crazy things Mrs. McCosh does. And the sweet things Mr. McCosh does. A sweet book, a light, conventional book about British people during the First World War.The audiobook has two narrators: David Sibley and Avita Jay. Those chapters predominantly concerned with the girls are spoken by Avita, the boys by David. I cannot quite figure it out because the principle character is Rosie McCosh and yet David Sibley reads more of the story than Avita Jay! In the Pitt family the mother is from France. There are simple lines of untranslated French. French pronunciation is understandable but not good. This shouldn’t be so since the Pitts were fluent in French! For some reason Sibley thinks aristocrats speak in a clipped manner. Not a bad narration, but not super. Birds Without Wings 5*Corelli's Mandolin 4*Red Dog 4*A Partisan's Daughter 3*

  • Heather
    2019-02-02 11:05

    If you’re like me, and have an interest in late 1800’s-early 1900’s England that borders on obsession (or if you just like a well-written story), then you will definitely enjoy Louis de Bernières’ latest novel, The Dust That Falls From Dreams. The only way I can possibly describe this novel, is that it is like a sweep of a paintbrush with every colour imaginable. Covering all aspects of life before, during, and after World War One, de Bernières paints a picture that is both beautiful and occasionally distressing; and that had me giggling in some parts and crying in others.I’ll be honest and say I found it a little jumpy at the beginning as it moved between a number of first person narratives, but it settled quickly and read quite nicely; so nicely that I had almost forgotten about the instability of these early chapters. I initially hated the ending, but after I thought about it for a bit, I decided I was actually really happy about it, and I have everything crossed that it might lead to a sequel (please Mr de Bernières!!).While the overarching themes are love and war, and how the former can survive the latter, there are others touched upon also, most notably religion. In this case there is an interesting contrast between Rosie McCosh, who is almost fanatically rigid in her religious beliefs, and the Reverend Captain Fairhead - a man of the cloth who sees the horrors of the trenches in France, which leads him to question his own beliefs and why any God would allow such atrocities to take place.For me this wasn’t the typical love and war novel that I’ve read before. In many others (but by no means all), the young men go off to war, while the women stay at home waiting for their sweethearts to return. In this case however, de Bernières uses the McCosh girls to show the important role that women played in the war effort, both as nurses and in a variety of other roles. The women in this novel are very different from those in other novels set in this time period; the introduction of the character Gaskell introduces another dimension to women - and people in general - at the time that is not usually explored.Another difference to other war novels I’ve read, was the larger focus on the airmen. Usually we see things only from the perspective of the men in the mud of the trenches, and de Bernières shows us this quite vividly. However we also see, through the character of Daniel Pitt, what it was like to be flying over the war as part of the Royal Flying Corps. I don’t think I’d ever had as much of an appreciation for the risk these men took until I went to a WWI Exhibition a couple of months ago (you can read about that here); for not only were they at risk of being shot down by enemy guns, but also of their death being brought about simply due to their aircraft crashing for whatever reason. The aerial aces mentioned - names such as Albert Ball and Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock; names I only learnt this year at the WWI Exhibition - were real figures in the war, giving the novel a sense of reality that I think makes it just that little bit more sad to read.I wanted so badly to give this book five stars. But unfortunately there’s one thing that caused me to only give four, and it isn’t anything to do with the story. There were some small but to me fairly obvious typos that weren’t picked up during editing (at this point I’m hoping I didn’t miss any typos in this post), and they have made it into print. If this was an uncorrected manuscript I wouldn’t have an issue; but I picked this up in a bookshop. It was a bit disappointing that such a great book by an author like de Bernières would have errors in it. There aren’t lots, and they are sort of grouped so it looks like there’s just been a few pages missed here and there, but it was enough to annoy me. Hopefully these errors are removed for subsequent editions.Errors aside, this was a truly beautiful book and I can safely say that it’s probably my favourite new release I’ve read this year (my previous one is here). I honestly don’t think this book is for everybody, but it is definitely for me. So if you decide to read it based on what I’ve said, just make sure you do so with the knowledge that this book is basically exactly what I like to read, and as a result I’m heavily biased towards it.

  • Sean Smart
    2019-02-15 10:21

    A wonderful story and a very moving one, with a hint (or a reminder) of Downton Abbey about it.

  • Carolyn
    2019-02-17 08:55

    This story centres around the McCosh family, an ordinary English family with four daughters and a batch of servants living a comfortable life in the start of the 20th century. It follows their lives and those of their friends and neighbours through WWI and beyond into the rebuilding of a post-war England. Much of what happens to the McCosh's and their friends was being re-enacted all over Europe. The young men going to war, some dying, some returning maimed in body or soul, the women finding vocations and a voice, morning the loss of loved ones and many questioning their faith. Ultimately it is a love story and demonstrates the many types of love - fierce, demonstrative, obsessive and patient, that can survive war and build relationships.I enjoyed but didn't love this book. It is beautifully written and the prose has a light touch whether describing the horrors of war or the little daily pleasures of peacetime such as walking by the river or having tea and scones. I thought the sections dealing with conditions in the trenches were particularly well written in a way that made you feel the mud and the deprivation and the exploits and stunts of the airmen in their flimsy aircraft were also some of the best descriptions of early aviation I've read in a novel. I did feel that the book suffered by being just a tad too long, particularly the post war sections where everyone is working out what they want to do with their lives. However, it was a very lovely, gentle read with lots of small highs and lows and a satisfying ending. 3.5★

  • Mairin Delaney
    2019-02-14 15:15

    I feel like I've wasted the last three weeks of my life reading this utterly boring, pointless, overly-long book. It was particularly disappointing since I loved Captain Corelli's mandolin so much. This book had so much potential - small things would happen throughout the book and I would finally feel a twinge of excitement, thinking the story was finally starting to get going, but then it fall flat again. A book of great potential, one that was never realised unfortunately....I will not be recommending it.....

  • Elaine
    2019-01-20 11:09

    This won't be my favourite of de Bernieres stories but it was still a good read with some moving and emotional scenes. One thing de Bernieres does really well is tell people's stories, especially during war time and this was no exception. We follow the lives of the McCosh family and those close to them during WWI and the aftermath. I struggled a little to become totally immersed in these people's lives but there were a few that I warmed to. Hamilton McCosh, the father, with his Scottish lilt and passion for golf and the ever patient Daniel. I loved the three McCosh sisters,Christabel, Ottilie but especially Sophie with her own vocabulary and carefree spirit. I found Rosie McCosh exasperating and just wanted to shake her to her senses. I think someone did in the end.I read in the author's note that he based this loosely on his own family and a long lost grandfather. Any fan of this author will enjoy this latest offering, once more written in classic de Bernieres style. Nothing to be disappointed with here.

  • Simone
    2019-02-10 09:54

    A few chapters in, I was bored and frustrated with the same-old-same-old Horrors of the Great War and twee upstairs/downstairs relationships. And then de Bernieres, as he usually does, grabbed me gently by the throat and refused to let go. After page 200, I LOVED this novel and all its quirky characters and their adventures and romances. Delightful.

  • switterbug (Betsey)
    2019-02-18 08:05

    Love and loss on an intimate scale against the expansive backdrop of war, and the inner life of characters, is a particular interest of mine, especially when combined with exceptional writing. Although I haven't read Corelli's Mandolin, I was predisposed toward this book by the description of its contents. At first, the whimsical style bothered me, as the narrative dizzyingly described the death of Queen Victoria and the coronation of Edward VII, and jumped to the McCosh family. But, I stuck with it and saw that the waggish, declarative sentences were deliberately disproportionate to the more serious and tragic events they described. The style was a rather Dickensian approach, although the focus is on a privileged family that, for the most part, is sympathetic to the social inequality wrought by the devastation of WW I. In fact, except for the matriarch, I think it bordered on the (too) politically correct, with Mrs McCosh being the stereotypical class-conscious snob, a counterpoint to the rest of the family, who too easily adjusted to the changes in custom between the classes after the war. It was the servants who were reluctant to accept this change, thereby attributing eclectic manners to the once sheltered and posh McCosh's.The central McCosh family in Eltham is joined by the two families living on either side of them, an American family, the Pendennises, as well as another British family, the Pitts (well, half-British and half French). The kids become "the Pals," starting in childhood. The McCosh's only have daughters, four of them, and the other families only have sons, and the young men's enlistment in the war allows for the adventures and tragedies of the times to personally affect all three families. The reflection of the women on their embattled men is often funereally fine-grained. "And let's face it, he's an aviator. They don't last much longer than a meteorite, do they? That's what they are, meteorites waiting to hit the ground. Aviators are born to be a beautiful memory, like a poppy whose petals are ripped away in a storm."The pivotal theme here is loss--the loss of loved ones and the loss of an era. Amidst a rich and well-defined landscape, the key character that emerges becomes obdurate with grief. This grief becomes all-consuming, developing into a defense mechanism, and even a weapon against living in the present. Although I am utterly sympathetic to the shattering consequences of death to the living, this character cultivated mourning with a stubborn religious adherence. I suppose the reader was intended to be frustrated, but at a certain point, it felt idle and cloying. What surprised me more was how it was dealt with so cannily toward the end of the book, a facile convenience that undermined all that preceded it, despite or because of the former attention that was given this character.Suspending disbelief was problematic for me at several turns. Certain hot-button topics that are controversial today--class war, racial issues, same-sex pairing, and gender bias, were mollified to the point of contrivance. The author chose safe and inoffensive sentiments, dodging a landmine of polemic views by either avoiding them or selecting the ones at a remove from the 21st century. For instance, Mrs. McCosh made derogatory statements regarding the French, but the prejudice towards Muslims and Indians were mitigated throughout the novel. The erstwhile concerns that extend to the problems we face today were inorganically diluted, in my opinion. This weakened the overall effect of the text.However, some exquisite, heart-breaking passages touched me to the core. Often, de Bernières humanized the German soldiers, and I think this was his most nuanced touch in the narrative. For example, trying to bury a fellow Allied soldier while in the trenches: "Already five graves there, soldiers planted like vegetables, against the day of harvest...Private who'd been ordained, recited burial service...very loud and clear, so Huns would hear us. Boche tenor with beautiful voice responded, sang Brahm's Lullaby again.... Will haunt me/make me think thoughts almost too large...laid to rest by his brothers, sung to rest by a Hun." The laments of death are universal, and the juxtaposition of mutual grief and mortar shells was horribly beautiful.The domestic battles felt feigned, but the combat in the air and in the trenches, and the crushing endurance of the men, was harrowing and credible. But there were chapters, such as flying "aces" and their planes, that went into such detail that only a WW I plane-hobbyist would stay captivated. These digressions fatigued me and distanced me from the drama at hand, which, in my opinion, needed way more fortification than the blow-by-blow bits about aeroplanes.The author's blend of the serious and witty was often sly. For example, an Anglican young woman hides her rosary and Madonna that give her comfort, and reaches for them in her inconsolable grief: "She stared into the face of her plaster Madonna, and then into the eyes of the somewhat adult-looking baby Jesus. She put the statuette down, and bowed her head." In a few sentences, the author shows how these idols console the forlorn, and yet pokes a little fun at these symbols of comfort and faith.After the war, the author lost me several times, the discursive prose distancing me. De Bernières was poignant with the nature of death, but the characters that remained appeared in and out of focus at various times, and parts of the sprawling cast and subplots often got dropped or handily managed. De Bernières can craft a beautiful passage, and there were some characters that touched me at the start, but I felt unsatisfied at the end. The aspects that bothered me may not bother other readers, and if you were a fan of Corelli's Mandolin, I suspect you may be drawn to the author's rich landscape and his story of redemption during difficult times.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-02-01 11:52

    Description: In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood.For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges: torn between her love for two young men, her sense of duty and her will to live her life to the full, she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?Opening: This was the day that Daniel vaulted the wall. Not many weeks previously the tiny Queen had begun to lose her appetite. In Marseilles, President Kruger of South Africa, fleeing into exile laden with wealth stolen from his own people, raised the rabble to new frenzies of anti-Britishness, and hotels where British travellers were thought to be staying were besieged.Coinciding with the hundred year day-by-day news alerts in my feeds this was a welcome fictional view, beautifully written and evocatively titled.Of course this era is well-mined and exhaustively represented in all mediums, so one more would have to be a cut above and I believe de Berières offers up a compassionate, touching, epic storyline. The Dust that Falls from Dreams is daintier fayre than Follett's trilogy (although I did love that) and not as twee as Upstairs, Downstairs or Downton Abbey (yes, I loved them too), it has its own niche.3.5* The Dust That Falls from Dreams3* Corelli's Mandolin4* Birds Without Wings3* A Partisan's Daughter5* Notwithstanding

  • Laura
    2019-02-06 10:05

    Another masterpiece written by Louis de Bernieres.This is the story of the McCosh family which has 4 daughters and their childhood neighbors: daughter Rosie is the childhood of Ashbridge. When Ash decides to enlist and the destiny will change their future.The plot starts in the beginning of the 20th century under King Edward VII reign. With the outbreak of World War One, the lives of these families will change forever.In the meantime the author describes how the pre and pos war periods have changed the style of living of these families where young women decided to work in order to give some sense to their lives, while their mates were fighting in the front. The horrors of the battle field are mentioned, even if they are not described in detail, showing how the human losses were deeply felt by their relatives.In oder to overcome such suffering, the story of the flying aces, the ruthless trench and love letters home give some hints to the new life to come for those who survived to the Great War.By the end of the book (no spoilers here), I got the impression that this book may have some kind of sequel. Lets hope so.4* Captain Corelli's Mandolin4* Birds Without Wings4* The Dust That Falls from DreamsTR Señor Vivo and the Coca LordTR Red Dog

  • MaryannC.Book Fiend
    2019-02-08 13:13

    I can see where some thought this book was a bit mundane, but I thought it was quite a lovely read. It was like the chronicles of two families during the onset of World War 1 and how it all affected them. Other characters were interspersed in the story, but their stories were sometimes short chapters that didn't bog down the storyline. Sometimes the book tells what a particular character would be doing or feeling, I found that this gave me a sense of what it was like to be going through war with all the emotions it encompassed. There were horrific descriptions of the war, but also moments of joy, sadness, love, happiness and strength. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  • Amie
    2019-01-31 12:10

    Absolutely gorgeous storytelling, I'm always emotionally invested in this author's characters and amused, horrified, smitten and on tender hooks by turns. Absolutely recommended.

  • Morana Mazor
    2019-02-04 12:06

    Ovaj nas je autor osvojio svojim prekrasnim djelom "Mandolina kapetana Corellija" 🎻prema kojemu je snimljen i istoimeni film s Penelope Cruz i Nicholasom Cageom u glavnim ulogama.I ovom se romanu prvlači ratna tematika, ovaj puta Prvi svjetski rat u Engelskoj.Ono što vas, otprilike čeka u ovom romanu je sljedeće; neposredno prije Prvog svjetskog rata, engleska plemenitaška obitelj koju čine majka, otac i četiri sestre uživaju u vrtnim zabavama, igrama i druženju s dvije obitelji u susjedstvu koje imaju sinove, vršnjake njihovih kćeri.Dok odrasli pijuckaju šampanjac🍸🍾 i pričaju o ratnim zbivanjima u Europi, mladi se, kroz djetinje igre, zbližavaju te se rađaju i neke velike (što sretne, a što nesretne)💘 ljubavi.A onda dolazi rat; dečki se prijavljuju u vojsku, djevojke također, svaka na svoj način, pokušavaju dati svoj doprinos novonastaloj situaciji.Kako naši junaci proživljaju rat, a potom i godine nakon njega, čitajte u ovoj lijepoj, iscrpnoj priči Louisa de Bernieresa!

  • Jillwilson
    2019-02-04 09:55

    Louis, Louis, Louis!!! Last night I walked out of a film made by my ex-fave Japanese director Hirokazu Koreada. I have loved his films but the later ones have been less wonderful and this one was terrible. I’m very upset by this. How could a man who made Nobody Knows and Afterlife also create the twee awfulness of ‘Our Little Sister’? He showed such a powerful understanding of family relationships in the earlier films. And so I thought of Louis de Bernieres this morning. His decline is not of the same order as Koreada (but I also invested more time in the novel – it’s over 500 pages – whereas I walked out after 90 minutes of ‘Our Little Sister’). This novel is OK – not great – not a patch on his early work, the Latin American trilogy and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Mostly I miss the playfulness of the former and the depth of focus of the latter.I first read his work many years ago in Granta’s collection ‘Best of the Young British Novelists: 1993’ He was collected here with writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Alan Hollinghurst, Jeanette Winterson and Kazuo Ishiguro. His Granta piece, a little autobiographical snippet, is bursting with energy – like the books set in Latin America. They seem a long way away from this novel which begins in England with the death of Queen Victoria and focuses on the McCosh family (four daughters) and their immediate neighbours (two families with sons). The warm glow of the Edwardian age rapidly disappears into the shadow of the Great War as some of the sons become soldiers or pilots and some of the daughters break with social standing to become nurses. De Bernieres says that he was inspired to write this novel partly because he discovered that his maternal grandmother had been engaged to a soldier who died of wounds received in battle in 1915 – a discovery which caused him to wonder, as we all do, about the fickle hand of fate and how we may not be here as individuals but for particular interventions or accidents. Warning: there are a couple of spoilers ahead.He writes well about the war, especially about the then new breed of warriors – the pilots who were discovering the limits and the possibilities of this new invention. I’ve read a lot that has been set in World War 1 recently (Pat Barker’s wonderful book ‘Regeneration’, Robert Graves’ ‘Goodbye to All That’) so the bar is pretty high. I loved his descriptions of the flying squad guys, of their closeness, of their binges and of the thrill of being in the air as well as the precipitousness.I would have liked more of the nursing side of things. Coincidentally, in the latest Granta Best of the Young British Novelists: 2013, Kamila Shamsie’s story explores the experiences of injured young Indian men who are nursed in a hospital in Brighton (they turned the Brighton Pavilion into a hospital for the duration of the wear); she does a great job of conveying this in a few pages. De Bernieres seems uneasy in exploring the experiences of any of the women in the novel despite that fact that the oldest McCosh daughter has to carry much of the narrative. For much of the novel, she is a woman stricken with grief – one reviewer says: “the exigencies of the narrative require her to behave in ways that readers – though not most of the characters in the novel – may find tiresome. On the other hand it may be because de Bernières has found it as difficult as so many novelists have to make a virtuous woman convincing. Her grief for her dead fiancé is intense; the author invites us to consider whether it becomes self-indulgent.” (I thought of ‘Nora Webster’ here and what a fine fist Colm Toibin makes of a good woman in difficult circumstances.) (Reviewer ref: reviewer said the most apt thing about this novel: “John Masefield once wrote a novel with the title ODTAA – One Damned Thing After Another, and that’s a fair description of this one. There are echoes of inter-war fiction, of, for instance, the first volumes of Compton Mackenzie’s masterpiece, The Four Winds of Love. Like Mackenzie, de Bernières pays no heed to theories of how a novel should be constructed; his narrative is shapeless.” (’s a baggy piece of work. I read that it’s designed to be part of a trilogy – I think that unless he shakes it up a bit, it’s destined to be almost as disappointing as my latest encounter with Mr Koreada’s work.PS. There’s a good afterword where de Bernieres talks about the inspiration for this work including the fact that in adult life he discovered that one of his grandfathers had in fact lived much longer than he had known about in an obscure part of Canada. This little story was as interesting as large slabs of the book itself.

  • Shaina
    2019-01-23 15:56

    Read the original review and more at Shaina Reads!Disclaimer: I received this ARC through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program for review consideration. Thank you to Goodreads and Knopf Doubleday/Pantheon for the chance to read it!I love it when a book surprises you. When I first started The Dust That Falls From Dreams, I worried that I was in for a bit of a slog. I like historical fiction well enough, but more than 500 pages about the nitty-gritty of the First World War and its consequences for three intertwined families sounded downright daunting—and it was, for the first 200 pages or so. About halfway through, I suddenly realized that these characters had completely stolen my heart with their resilience in the face of the most devastating war England had ever seen.The story focuses on the wartime and post-war trials of the McCosh, Pendennis and Pitt families, centering most heavily on the experiences of the four McCosh sisters. I got a distinct Little Women vibe from the McCosh women. From my dim memories of my time with Alcott, they weren't carbon copies of the Marches, but rather the intense love and closeness they felt for each other brought Alcott's sisters to mind. Each of the women takes on a job during the war, ranging from domestic and international nurse to ambulance driver and photographer. Sophie was my favorite of the bunch; she definitely had an early-twentieth-century Manic Pixie Dream Girl™ thing going on, but her spirit and whimsy never failed to make me crack a smile.I already mentioned that it took until about halfway through for me to really begin enjoying the story; considering the halfway point is nearly the length of a whole novel, I couldn't fault someone else for not holding out. Even after I hit my stride, the sailing wasn't entirely smooth. I was looking up military terms and British slang every other page, and I had to endure some egregiously racist and sexist moments (though, oddly, none felt out-of-character for the time period). There were also whole chapters devoted to the minutiae of life at the front and the inner workings of WW1-era airplanes. Occasionally interesting, occasionally snoozeville.On the bright side, no chapter in the book is longer than 15 pages, with some clocking in at two or three, so I barely had a chance to get tired of what I was reading before it was over. These shorter scenes allowed de Bernières to jump among perspectives and topics liberally, creating many and varied opportunities to get to know each character. The format would lend itself well to a mini-series, and I couldn't help but think of Downton Abbey more than once while reading.My boyfriend's mom happened to be reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin when he and I went to visit last month. We both finished our respective books this past weekend and agreed that they were slow to start and detail-heavy, but ultimately lovely. We've got a de Bernières mail swap in the pipeline, and, after adoring his latest effort, I can't wait to explore more of his works.The Dust That Falls From Dreams is available for preorder and comes out tomorrow, August 4. The book was originally published in Great Britain in July.

  • Beth
    2019-01-28 14:13

    An advanced copy of this showed up in the mail today - I won a copy and didn't even know it. Now to find the time to read it! :)

  • Kate Z
    2019-01-27 12:15

    I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I hoped to like it so much more. This is one of those books where so many outside factors - aside from the particulars of the novel itself - affected my appreciation of it. I think the age of Downton Abbey affects my reading of this novel. Where at one point I felt like I wanted to know more about this milieu, this novels feels - in some part - like a Downton Abbey redux which is a shame. There is the same Edwardian backdrop, the tension between the classes and the war itself. This book got off to a slow start for me and it took me a while to really get a foothold into the characters. I tend to be a character driven reader so I really want to connect with a character or characters to really enjoy a book. The book is interspersed with letters - mainly those back and forth between two main characters Rosie and her fiance Ashbridge who is fighting at the front. Those letters are mixed with other third person narrative about Edwardian England - a narrative style which kept me at arm's length. The letters themselves were very personal and I enjoyed those but otherwise I always felt something like an observer looking in, being told what to think and that prevented me from fully engaging with the characters or events of the book.Fairly or not, I also hoped for another Corelli's Mandolin. This book was not that. For me this book just lacked a soul. This book was more about the way that people organize themselves than it was a WW1 novel; I was hoping for a human drama which takes place during WW1. There was no real story arc and no real opportunity for me to really get close enough to any of the characters to care deeply about them. There's nothing really not to like in this book - and perhaps it mostly fell flat for me because it wasn't the book I was expecting or hoping for - but there wasn't anything to especially recommend it either. Just a "meh".

  • Neil Fox
    2019-01-30 12:02

    The golden years of idyllic, blissful, carefree tranquillity of middle-class Edwardian England are swept away by the horrors, death and suffering on the Western front in this, Louis de Bernieres novel of a family of 4 girls sandwiched between neighboring families of boys at the outbreak of World War 1. Ultimately from the grief and sorrow springs forth regeneration and renewal.The plot is simpler and the style significantly less complex than de Berniere's classic "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"; from a blind reading of both, one would hardly guess them to have the same author. As far as WW1 popular fiction goes, this is more Ken Follett than Sebastain Faulks or Pat Barker.The style doesn't quite know where it wants to be - straightforward pacey fiction or more abstract flowing poetic prose; de Bernieres attempts the common technique we see in WW1 literature of telling the story through soldiers' correspondence to loved ones, in their letters and poems. At the beginning, each chapter is narrated by alternating protagonists, but somehow this fails to work and he inexplicably reverts back to third-person narration. One feels he also almost attempts to launch into poetry mode with his evocation of Rupert Brooke, but doesn't quite have the nerve to go there. The main themes of grief, loss, healing and renewal are supplemented by religion, superstition and the nature of gallantry and loyalty.The novel is absent of cynicism; this is about the sadness and loss of war rather than a rage against its futility. The characters move on because there is no other way; the pointlessness of the war gives way to a celebration of the capacity of the human spirit to persevere and to overcome.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-27 13:06

    I liked this book very much, but it's rather difficult to put my finger on the exact reasons. I listened to the audiobook, beautifully read, and took my time about it. Without relating the story and cover blurb, it basically relates the tale of a family of 4 girls and the 5 boys living nextdoor to them, all great pals before World War I, and the great repercussions of the war on their lives afterwards.It is an era I am particularly fond of in fiction, probably because my much-loved grandparents lived through it and I like to imagine what life was like for them then. This book was especially interesting for me because one of the characters joined the Royal Flying Corps (which later became the Royal Air Force) and, after the war, lucky to be still alive, had to decide whether to stay on or find another job. My grandfather was an RFC squadron leader in WWI and told me lots of amazing stories, so I found Chapter 41 absolutely mind-blowing: can you imagine going into a dive by cutting out the engine, then having to pump up the oil pressure to get the engine to start again, all the time trying to fight enemy planes and not get shot at?! They didn't even have parachutes!Some chapters were of course less interesting than others, but I suppose one has to talk/read/write about spiritualism as it was so prevalent in the aftermath of the war, along with wavering religious beliefs. I think Louis de Bernière did a good job of capturing the era with a wide range of characters, each with their own way of getting on with their changed lives and greeting the 1920s in a positive way.This may not be a masterpiece, but it is a good story well told.

  • Chantal Lyons
    2019-01-28 16:04

    I had an interesting relationship with this book. Getting into it was difficult, with the narrative jumping erratically around between characters and events, before it settled into a middle that was moving and compelling. But the last third threw me out again - the pacing was lost and the story spent a long time deciding what it should do. I found myself continually looking away and feeling like putting it down. At the very least the book should have been edited down more so that it focused only on the entangled lives of Ash, Rosie and Bernieres' prose is unfailing as always, and poetic in places, drawing laughter and sadness in turn. His characters feel real too, but often the things that happen to them don't - most distractingly, the way that every man who visits the McCosh household falls in love with one of its members, and vice versa. Life is never so neat and tidy. The trite plotting of the romances jars with the the unflinching reality of fighting in WW1 which, although the war as a period takes up a minority of the book, is the most memorable part. I've certainly never read a WW1 story which talks about the soldiers having to use their love letters as loo roll.The detail of the story was very immersive, with the war slang and the experiences of flying (aircraft fans will love all the technical detail), but the story itself was often not; it stretched itself too thin. From the afterword, it sounds like de Bernieres has an entire saga planned beginning with this book, but I don't feel the need to continue it.(Review originally written for Amazon Vine)

  • Maya Panika
    2019-02-03 16:13

    It is Epic - immensely long and yet uncomplicated; a linear narrative that begins with memories of childhood, takes in the tragic sweep of the Great War and follows the survivors into the aftermath. It is a tale of many characters with interwoven stories and a depth of history that is neatly stitched into the narrative – there are no info-dumps, no research proudly on display. Seamless, it seems like nothing - it had the smooth readability of Philip Hensher: very personable with more going on beneath the surface without ever becoming Literary (in the worst way) or unnecessarily complicated.The plot is basically your regular family saga with no great surprises; the story is all about the characters, and every one of them has a reason to be there, each is fairly and equally treated – there are no villains or heroes, everyone is painted in their various shades of grey. I grew to love every one of them, even (especially?) poor, snobbish, war-damaged Mrs McCosh, because even though she isn’t likeable, she is understandable; there are elements of Mrs Cosh in many of the people I know and love. I enjoyed The Dust That Falls From Dreams but can’t give it 5 stars: there’s something missing in the writing that makes this a good book but not a great one. The writing doesn’t sparkle like Corelli – though I confess greatly preferred it (I didn’t like Corelli) but it’s nothing like as Great a book. TDTFFD is more like Downton than Corelli with its straightforward storytelling and multitude of characters. It would probably have flowed better if LdeB had kept it more tightly pared and concentrated more closely on his key players. I was disappointed that there was so little of the intriguing Madame Valentine and her oddly burgeoning relationship with Fairhead. Hints that she was a genuine psychic were undeveloped, her chapters few and very far between and peppered with tantalising missing scenes (I would love to have read about Rosie’s séances, but they’re dismissed in a single sentence) to the extent that I wondered why she was included at all. In short, The Dust That Falls From Dreams didn’t grip me by the throat, drag me into the bushes and maul me half to death with its insight and genius but it did keep me reading for the better part of a fortnight and was consistently enjoyable, if never un-putdownable. It is undemanding. I’ve given it 4 stars, but feel it’s more like three and a half. It would make a great travel read – though maybe on kindle, if you’re planning to carry to about with you, it is a massive brick of a thing. It's a light and pleasurable read, but I can see why many hardcore de Bernières fans are so disappointed.

  • Angela Oliver
    2019-02-13 10:20

    "The Dust that Falls from Dreams" is an epic family saga, spanning from England's Golden years, through the turbulent times of World War II and its aftermath. It follows the fates and fortunes of one family - the McCosh's and their four daughters, intermingling with those of their childhood friends. Friends whose innocence was lost to the war.Our main heroine is Rosie McCosh, engaged at age twelve to noble and sincere Ashbridge. It is war that separates them, and war that makes her a widow before she can be a wife. But with a love that strong, and a faith so deep, can Rosie ever find it in herself to love again? Meanwhile, her sisters too are moving on with their lives, their innocence now fragmented along with the rigid hierarchy of masters and servants. I found Sophie, with her clumsy use of clever words, her quirky mannerisms and slightly off-beat personality, to be the most charming of the sisters. We also have Christabel, pratical and artistic, and Ottiline, perceptive and polite. Added to the cast is the increasing infuriating Mrs McCosh, clinging desperately to the traditions of the past, and her husband, Hamish, a creative genius - if somewhat eccentric. All are brought together, and to life, in this tale of epic scope and poetic lyricism.The war itself fills maybe a third of the book, described in short but nerve-wrecking diary entries, so visceral that at times you can almost feel the mud and smell the misery. It truly brings home the full tragedy, and futility, of the war - so many young lives lost.Overall, a beautifully written novel, filled with an engaging and individual cast of characters, each with their own distinct personalities. It is a tale of tragedy and heartbreak, but also hope and redemption. A tale of rebuilding a new world and a new life.It also drags on perhaps a bit too long, and I found Rosie to be an unsatisfying heroine - I could not understand why, that of all their childhood male friends, Rosie seemed to be the preferred love-interest to at least 3 of them. She was so caught up in clinging to her lost love that she just would not move on with her life. I almost wish that chosen love interest #2 had moved on without her instead.

  • Gordon
    2019-01-26 12:14

    I've read several of the reviews of this excellent book. Most comment on how it does or does not resemble Downton Abbey, and then go on to regret that this particular book is not as good as Corelli's Mandolin, a book whose sentiments left me at turns roaring with laughter and weeping over various characters and events. This book is after bigger game, I think, and as such does not have the preciousness of the former work. Some of the characters are caricatures. Mrs. McCosh is a Victorian arriviste with all of the unlovely pretense and superficiality. Sophie, a satellite sister, becomes just what she is entitled, the wise fool, someone capable of grasping what happiness is when her more substantial sister, replete with Edwardian sentimentality and religiosity cannot. But the title of the book offers a key to the real study, what happens when the age of empire dies and the comfortable Edwardian life is destroyed by WWI. Several passages refer to the title that de Bernieres chooses. Rosie, the female protagonist, mourning over her dead boyfriend,Ash, refers to Dust by Rupert Brook and Sophie in playing with motes in the sun in the presence of her own lover tells him that they are "the dust that falls from dreams." A more graphic depiction of the same topic comes when Daniel, Rosie's alive lover, takes the rug from the family room and beats it with Millicent, another woman to lose her love in WWI. All point to the Brook poem And all point to the end of comfortable life in the Empire. Read the book. It's worth every second.

  • Candice
    2019-02-14 14:08

    Actually, I would give this 4 1/2 stars. I did think it started out rather slowly and I almost gave up, but am happy that I didn't follow the "50-page rule." I read it because I loved Corelli's Mandolin, plus I'm a sucker for beautifully worded titles. Can you think of more beautiful way to combine words than "the dust that falls from dreams"? And indeed that's what this book is about. An idyllic childhood in pre-World War I England turned to dust by that war. Three families live together in a row - the McCoshes, the Pendennises, and the Pitts. The children all play together and at the age of 12, Rosie McCosh and Ashbridge Pendennis know they will be together forever. But so many changes come with the horrible war - changes in families, in the country, in most of the world. The book covers the horrors of the war in diary entries from Ash and in descriptions of fighter pilot Daniel Pitt's horrifying experiences. No one is spared from life-changing (and often life-ruining) experiences. After the war there is a big change in the English society to which the families were accustomed, yet life does go on.Not just another book set during and after World War I. A beautifully written story of carrying on when one's world seems to be upended, and building a new world from the dust.

  • Missy Byer
    2019-01-24 08:17

    " ..filled his court with men who were interesting rather than important, and with women who were both interesting and beautiful." (4) Am I really going to have an issue with this book before the 10th page?

  • Chelsea
    2019-01-25 13:17

    More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.I picked this book up at the library because, quite frankly, that is one of the loveliest titles I've seen in a while. The Dust That Falls From Dreams... There's just something incredibly romantic about it, don't you think? That, and because when I read the flap, I saw that the story takes place in the years of and surrounding World War I, which I think is an underrepresented conflict in historical fiction given its impact on the world. World War II has tons of historical fiction surrounding it, but I see much less taking place during WWI.The story here is definitely character-driven, following the McCosh family, particularly the eldest daughter Rosie, through the years before, during, and after the war. Before the war, Rosie and her sisters are friends with the boys who live on either side of them, forming a large group called "the Pals." Rosie and Ashbridge, the eldest Pendennis boy, are very close and become engage (formally; they were informally engaged since Rosie was twelve) right before Ash goes off to fight in France with his brothers. From a very early time, we know that Ash is doomed, and can see the consequences of this looming up for Rosie. Rosie and her sisters eventually take up wartime occupations, their mother witnesses a tragedy, and their father opens a number of new ventures. Meanwhile, Daniel Pitt, one of the boys from the other side of the fence, becomes an ace pilot.Because this is a character-driven story, there's not really a plot. It's more about watching as Rosie, because she is definitely the main character, develops. Rosie can be extremely frustrating at times, especially to a reader who (like me) isn't particularly religious. Rosie is very religious, and while I could see why she was so, the degree to which she clung to her beliefs could be absolutely infuriating. She has a tendency to ruin her own happiness, as well as that of others, because she clings to her faith so strongly, even when other parts of her religion--and religious figures such as Fairhead the chaplain--tell her that it's okay to move on. Daniel was an utter saint for putting up with her, and if I had been his mother, I probably would have smacked Rosie upside the head for the way she behaved toward him. That said, I still liked Rosie, quite a bit. Her frustrating qualities were greatly balanced by her overwhelming goodness. She's just so nice that you can't help but like her. And it's not an infuriating or fake niceness, because she has her angry moments--she throws a Wedgewood vase at someone at one point--but because she's genuinely a good soul.Daniel was, by far, my favorite character; his charm, his quirks, everything about him was good. His doubts, both in himself and in his country, are genuine, but he still does his duty because he feels it's the right thing to do, and perseveres in his relationship with Rosie because he does love her, even when it doesn't seem like she cares about him in return. He's really better than she deserves at many points, but holds out.The supporting characters were also, for the most part, delightful. I would have liked to see a few more of their plots tied up, though--at the end, several people are just left hanging. Rosie and Daniel's plot wound up fairly nicely. Everything was pretty much resolved in regards to them, or at least it was suggested that everything was. But for Ottilie, Mr. McCosh, and Archie (who I would have liked to see more of in general) things were left somewhat hanging. It felt like de Bernieres almost created too many characters, and then decided he couldn't have plots for all of them, and so focused in on a few, ignored a few, killed a few, and sent a few off to distant locales so he wouldn't have to deal with them.This book also got off to what I felt was a very slow start--but once the war started, I liked it more. The pace picked up, the characters became more interesting, and the story itself became more complex. I have mixed feelings about how the non-narrative chapters were written; journal entries and letters have never been my favorite ways of portraying or reading action in books. However, they do fit the time period and theme of how war affects people, so I suppose they were all right. They got fewer and farther between later in the book, which I appreciated; the plain narrative chapters definitely suited me more.Overall, though, I quite liked this book; I feel like it's a solid 3.5 to 4 stars for its overall art and portrayal of a somewhat underrepresented turbulent time on the global stage, while focusing in on that times' effects on a small group of people who are still somewhat representative of the whole.

  • Sojourner
    2019-02-18 10:52

    Delightful and stirring, The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières is a witty and touching historical war novel which is beautifully mounted and will no doubt be a hit with readers worldwide. The story starts in the year 1902 at the home of a successful Scottish entrepreneur and inventor, Hamilton McCosh, who lives with his snobbish wife and four young daughters - Rosie, Christabel, Ottilie and Sophie. The McCoshes are great friends and close neighbors to the Pitts and the Pendennises. The Pitts are a family who have witnessed great tragedy. Initially a family of six, the father and two sons died leaving behind a widowed mother and her two sons, Archie and Daniel. The Pendennises have three boys Sydbey, Albert and Ashbridge. As the novel opens with a garden party at The Grampians, which is the home of the McCoshes, you can’t help but notice that twelve-year-old Rosie McCosh and Ashbridge Pendennis have something going between them which is much deeper than the family friendship. Madly in love, they promised each other they will become married when they grow up. But as the drumbeats of war grew louder, it soon became apparent that their idyllic life will come to a grinding halt. Ash enlisted to serve with the Honourable Artillery Company, and before leaving for France, formally solemnised his engagement to Rosie, who also volunteers to become a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment working in Southampton. Author Louis de Bernières also brilliantly followed Daniel Pitt as he joined the Royal Flying Corps.The Dust That Falls from Dreams is a story of friendship, love, family, war and tragedy. Brilliantly narrated through different voice, both in the first and third, it is a story filled with grief, hope, and uncertainty, and vividly portrayed the horrors of war. Readers will also be quick to notice the irony surrounding the three families. While the Pitts and Pendennises have only sons, the McCoshes have only daughters. This sweeping novel which spans many countries and covering a period of more than two decades will capture the imagination of readers, and will undoubtedly be a runaway success.

  • Benjamin
    2019-02-19 15:17

    With the synopsis given above it is not necessary to repeat that here other than to say that the book opens by establishing the period setting in some detail, and detail is very much what this novel provides throughout, considerable research is more than evident here. The descriptions of life in the trenches and the horrors of war are so vivid as to be at times distressing, but there is humour here too; however the saga moves on for while the war occupies a substantial part the major part of the novel concerns itself with its aftermath and the rebuilding of the lives of those who remain. The main characters are all memorable and very likeable, which with some of what transpires makes the story heartbreakingly moving at timesThis is unquestionably beautifully written, and as an account of the times it is most illuminating and copiously detailed. It is presented mainly in short to very short chapters seen from different aspects, some third person narrative, some first person seen from various individuals, some as letters or diary entries along with occasional news updates. While this works well in providing an all round picture it also seems to work against the novel as a hard to put down read, for in this format it seems to invite one to read just a chapter or two, and then come back later for more - as I read it I rarely if ever became so engrossed that I felt compelled to sit up through the night reading, or irritated if my reading was interrupted. Yet I always wanted to return to the book, and I think this is how it works best, as a book one can pick up, read a little, and then save some more for another time.I have found this difficult to rate, I have given it four stars for content so to to speak although I'm inclined to three stars for overall reading enjoyment.(publisher's review copy - uncorrected proof)