I very nearly quit this because it started out as a young man's sexual awakening in - you guessed it - the 1960s, and I can think of few things that interest me less. But it turns into a portrait of a relationship's heartbreaking collapse, and I was left with shifting opinions, no easy answers, and lots of tears. A really wonderful book.
#litsyatoz @BookishMarginalia #pop19 #bookwithnochaptersunusualchapterheadingsunconventionallynumberedchapters
A real treat if you like a good story with characters who are dynamic and worked out in depth.
I like the concept of this book - shifting perspective to show the transformation of the protagonist over the course of the book - but I found myself disconnecting with the story as the author lost sight of himself. I liked the first chapter (written in first person); the second chapter was triggering for me from a codependent perspective. I just wanted it all to be over by chapter 3. Definitely a "meh" read overall for me.
"Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less?"
The Only Story is about the one relationship / the love affair that we experience only once and remains our only story even if there are others after or there were others before and it is not as depicted in a Hollywood movie. Heart wrenching, honest and clever.
Finishing this one..🛶🌤📚
I was so excited to read another Julian Barnes book but I just couldn‘t make it through this one. About 1/4 of the way in, I thought of putting it aside but made myself read on. Then halfway through gave up again. Sadly I just couldn‘t get into it.
In Julian Barnes‘ latest novel, Paul, now an old man, reflects back on the love that defined the rest of his life. There‘s something about Proustian novels in which older characters process the memories of their youth that is often so profound, and this one is no exception. The analytical nature of this book and the depth of the subject matter were right up my alley.
Mr. S & I are off on a road trip! Since our birthdays are less than a week apart, we try to do a little getaway the weekend in between. It‘s been raining the entire drive so far, but oh how beautiful it makes the scenery! I‘m all set with several books loaded on my new Kindle Paperwhite (a birthday present). I‘m about 1/3 of the way through ‘The Only Story‘. Barnes is a fabulous writer & a gifted storyteller. Have you read any of his books?
This is a slow-moving, introspective book about what a boy learns about love throughout his life. He never quite moves on after his first real relationship with an older woman as a 19-year-old. While this book definitely isn‘t for everyone, I feel the author definitely knows his way around men and women and why they do or do not make it together. Julian Barnes is a master with words, and you cannot deny that this is a beautifully written book!
I finished this last week in 2 sittings. Barnes is one of my all-time favorite authors and this is very much “his” style. In many ways this novel is a continuation on the themes of love and memory much like A Sense of an Ending. Don‘t read anything about it, just read the novel and experience it for yourself!
Paul and Susan‘s story is very sad. It‘s told in a broken, nostalgic prose that shifts from I, to you, to he as the narrator distances himself from the affair. At first I thought it would be a cliched Mrs Robinson tale, but it morphs into an exploration of alcoholism and the toxic affects of fear and loneliness on an individual and a relationship. It‘s superbly observed, as Barnes novels always are, but I preferred the storylines of his others.
‘My father was much milder, and less given to judgement. He preferred to allow things to blow over, to let sleeping dogs lie, not to stir up mud; whereas my mother preferred facing facts and not brushing things under the carpet. My parents‘ marriage, to my unforgiving nineteen-year-old eye, was a car crash of cliche.‘ p. 11
Just finished this and feeling book “hungover”. This was much more than the story of a relationship between a young man and an older married woman: it‘s about love, duty and memories. Paul (the young man) takes us through his life, from the beginnings of his affair to the eventual tragic end. Along the way he muses on what it means to love someone and how your past never really leaves you. A poignant and moving tale, this book will stay with me.
In the end, this wasn‘t quite the book I had hoped for. Perhaps my expectations were just too high. Barnes‘s prose is as elegant as ever, his insights as smart as always. The story felt tailor-made for me, but it took a turn half-way through that, for personal reasons, spoiled the book for me a little - and it never quite delivered on its promise. But Barnes is still a master - I‘ll be back for more.
Excited to start reading this!
A really different story to what I‘d normally read but very glad I did. Barnes spends most of the book questioning what love actually is. Does it meaning lying to protecting each other? Or does it mean leaving the other person behind when they threaten to destroy you? Can you be in love more than once? Or is everything after your first love just second best? ❤️
I have no notion of the attraction between the two people central to this book. What I do know is he liked her tennis outfit, he was oddly fascinated by her rabbity teeth and she like to call him her "dirty stop-out" . That is the sum total of my understanding of what drew these two people together and it was just not enough to hang an entire life story on no matter how touching the beautifully written mediations on love and memory.
It starts slow and quite predictable but beautifully and precisely written and then there's a shift in voice and it becomes something special and piercing and so, so sad. This is probably the first time I've ever felt the second-person has been really justified and it works with devastating effect.
I have never read any of his stuff. Am I missing out? Sure like the cover of this one, due out in February!