And maybe I'm also a bit scarred - the look of Barnes's books reminds me of Ian MacEwan, the last one of which I read (Nutshell) didn't appeal. The Children Act was beautiful.
Now that I've finished my first Barnes (lent to me by a friend- I never did overcome that intimidation), I can say with assurance, that I was right to judge this one by its cover.
A love story. Paul meets Susan in the 1960s at a tennis club, where they are thrown together in a doubles tournament. He is 19, she close to 50. They fall in love, and this is a poignant look back at their story.
“Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.”
“Perhaps love could never be captured in a definition; it could only ever be captured in a story.”
“Strange how, when you are young, you owe no duty to the future; but when you are old, you owe a duty to the past. To the one thing you can’t change.”
It's beautiful. The author makes wonderful use of the first, second and third person narrative throughout the rendering - which would make for a good case study in a writing course.
I will be frequenting the library and my bookshop until I've read some more Julian Barnes books - nothing to fear here except the intimidation of excellent and inspirational writing.
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