Life After Truth

Ceridwen Dovey

Life After Truth
Penguin Books Australia
3 November 2020

Life After Truth

Ceridwen Dovey

At their fifteen-year reunion, a group of Harvard graduates - labouring with early middle age, marriage and children, unrealised aspirations and a depressing political climate - rekindle old loves and old resentments.

Fifteen years after graduating from Harvard, five close friends on the cusp of middle age are still pursuing an elusive happiness and wondering if they’ve wasted their youthful opportunities.

Jules, already a famous actor when she arrived on campus, is changing in mysterious ways but won’t share what is haunting her. Mariam and Rowan, who married young, are struggling with the demands of family life and starting to regret prioritising meaning over wealth in their careers. Eloise, now a professor who studies the psychology of happiness, is troubled by her younger wife’s radical politics. And Jomo, founder of a luxury jewellery company, has been carrying an engagement ring around for months, unsure whether his girlfriend is the one.

The soul searching begins in earnest at their much-anticipated college reunion weekend on the Harvard campus, when the most infamous member of their class, Frederick - senior advisor and son of the recently elected and loathed US President - turns up dead. Old friends often think they know everything about one another, but time has a way of making us strangers to those we love - and to ourselves…  


If you need a novel to read that feels familiar but will also give you a break from dealing with your own insecurities, here it is. This novel is the perfect read to take to the couch and completely submerge in. The story follows five close friends who attend a Harvard college fifteenth reunion weekend. All the characters have their own emotional baggage tucked well out of sight of the others. I promise you will be able to identify with at least one of the personalities to whom we are introduced immediately through their contributions to the Harvard Yearbook.

For me, it was Mariam and Rowan, who married young and have prioritised family life over their careers. There is Jules, a famous actor; Eloise, now a Harvard professor who studies the psychology of happiness; and Jomo, who is a founder of a jewellery company. Before the weekend really begins, the most infamous member of the Class of 2003, Frederick Reese, senior advisor and son of the despised President Reese, is found dead. And so it begins.

Ceridwen Dovey’s ability to illustrate pettiness, desire and our limited capacity for empathy is quite uncanny. (And funny.) Through this wonderful array of characters, she manages to encapsulate the elusive search for happiness that comes at a price not everyone can pay.

Life After Truth is an absorbing character assassination of the middle class. We are all guilty. We are all culpable. But we can all be forgiven. Fans of Kate Atkinson, Liane Moriarty and even Agatha Christie will relish this novel. It will be shared amongst book group readers, seen on beach towels, and the cover will be stained with a wine-glass ring. It is that type of novel; a perfect portrait of us all bumbling along on this great merry-go-round we call life.

Chris Gordon is the programming and events manager for Readings.

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