Winner of the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
He hated the word retirement, but not as much as he hated the word village, as if ageing made you a peasant or a fool. Herein lives the village idiot.
Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead, and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life - objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter - he is determined to be miserable but is tired of his existence and of the life he has chosen.
When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime's secrets and lies and to comprehend his own shortcomings. Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.
Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction - natural, racial, national and personal - and what we can do to prevent them.
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A man analysing his past and realising stuff......dreadfully slowly,
I'm not sure what to say about this book. It is well written and the narrator has a very pleasant voice, but the story goes along like a slow plod through a muddy field lugging a suitcase. I caught myself zoning in and out but when I rewound I realised I hadn't missed anything. I couldn't really like the characters enough to care one way or another about their "angst" and every thing from a broken cup to reminiscing about the death of loved was delivered with the same depth of emotion. I kept listening and waiting for it to step into another gear or for something uplifting to happen but it just didn't.
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An enjoyable and rewarding read (listen)
Very cleverly touches on so many pertinent issues with insight and flashes of humour. The central character a man relatively recently retired who hasn’t been good at expressing his emotions meets a woman who isn’t taking any of it and in the process catalyses change. Heartening. I listened to it twice, got more out of it the second time, and was tempted to go around a third time, but too many other wonderful books in my Audible Library to listen to....for now. As a West Australian I enjoyed hearing all the local place names. The Reader, highly respected Australian Actor William McInnes, does a wonderful job of portraying the different characters, makes me think his talent for accents is mostly wasted in his film and TV work.