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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2016 Josephine Wilson (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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Profile Image for Tracey
  • Tracey
  • 10-29-17

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna
  • 11-20-17

Very good work Josephine Wilson

The main character starts out as a grumpy and disengaged man, but an honest and straight talking neighbour triggers some frightening realisations and a good attempt to make amends. His is an interesting back story and family dynamic, but now his respectable academic career is a distant memory and his personal short comings are suddenly obvious. There are awkward and funny moments that made me laugh out loud. William McInnes has a beautiful voice and he does old man Frederick brilliantly.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Roslyn
  • 11-10-17

A wonderful read

A beautifully written and insightful book which explores many different issues including ageing and extinction. The characters are so very real and much of what they deal with is very confronting. William McInnes is simply brilliant!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Quentin
  • 11-09-17

The characters sweep you away...

William McInnes does an amazing job of bringing Josephine's characters to life in all their troubled glory. The story makes you think about your own pending extinction and what the world will remember you for when you are gone. Josephine goes to great lengths to get inside the world of reinforced concrete and William McInnes solidifies the character of a troubled retired engineer. A great listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan Morrow
  • 01-09-18

Very well written, not entirely fulfilling.

Great to listen to& over the moon to hear Aussie narration. The story however left me wanting something more conclusive.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-18

Thoughtful and funny

My husband and I listened to this as we drove across outback Australia. It’s a great story about very believable characters. William McInnes is a terrific narrator and plays each character extremely well. The book tackles many difficult topics such as failed parenting, long term marriage, careers pressures and adoption of children. There is a lot written showing accurate specialist knowledge of design, architecture and engineering which adds to the books structure. The book definitely provokes discussion and we recommend it highly.

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Profile Image for Meg
  • Meg
  • 12-13-17

Audio READERS Can 'Make or Break' a Fine Story!

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I don't know as I don't think it fits any particular genre. Because of the reading 'style' I couldn't recommend it.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The story was credible even if a tad ordinary. A cranky old bloke with a guilt complex from being a cranky father! The story could have portrayed more emotion and some tension perhaps? I didn't find anything new on a predictable topic.

What didn’t you like about William McInnes’s performance?

His characterisation was excellent. However, the straight narration was uninteresting and lacked personality. Every sentence ended with a drop in tone. Awful.

What character would you cut from Extinctions?

None.