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.
is a Perth-based writer. Her writing career began in the area of performance. Her early works included The Geography of Haunted Places, with Erin Hefferon, and Customs. Her first novel was Cusp, (UWA Publishing, 2005).
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Have just caught up with this interview, and it is another great selection. Expert in concrete, how fabulous, although there must be some. Just the topic for us newly retired to consider…
I devoured this book in two sittings. My husband is an engineer; so many parallels to my life. A book which makes you reflect and aging and the way we treat senior citizens.
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Sorry, wanted to really like this book (premise sounded interesting), but just couldn’t get into it. Perhaps I missed something critical but just couldn’t deal with all the little excerpts about extinction – found they just chopped up the story. By the time I got to the end I was over Fred and the others.