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The Only Story
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of An Ending, a novel about a young man on the cusp of adulthood and a woman who is already there, a love story shot through with sheer beauty, profound sadness, and deep truth. Most of us have only one story to tell. I don't mean that only one thing happens to us in our lives: there are countless events, which we turn into countless stories. But there's only one that matters, only one finally worth telling. This is mine. One summer in the sixties, in a staid suburb south of London, Paul comes home from university, aged nineteen, and is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. In the mixed-doubles tournament he's partnered with Susan Mcleod, a fine player who's forty-eight, confident, ironic, and married, with two nearly adult daughters. She is also a warm companion, their bond immediate. And they soon, inevitably, are lovers. Clinging to each other as though their lives depend on it, they then set up house in London to escape his parents and the abusive Mr. Mcleod. Decades later, with Susan now dead, Paul looks back at how they fell in love, how he freed her from a sterile marriage, and how--gradually, relentlessly--everything fell apart, as she succumbed to depression and worse while he struggled to understand the intricacy and depth of the human heart. It's a piercing account of helpless devotion, and of how memory can confound us and fail us and surprise us (sometimes all at once), of how, as Paul puts it, "first love fixes a life forever."
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TheEllieMo
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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This novels tells the tale of the #TenderRomance between 19-year-old Paul and his 48-year-old lover Susan.

#SoulSeptember @Eggs

Eggs Poignant 😔😥💔 1w
29 likes1 comment
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TheEllieMo
The Only Story | Julian Barnes
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Not just #TheStory, but the Only Story, allegedly!

#LilithJuly @Cinfhen @KarenUK

Cinfhen Ha!!! I saw this at the bookstore the other day. Looks interesting 2mo
TheEllieMo @cinfhen it‘s a nice book, I like the way Barnes writes. Very sad though 😔 2mo
Cinfhen I‘m not in the mood for sad - so it‘s going on my #MaybeSomeday pile 2mo
KarenUK This one is on my shelf (unread!) but I do love Julián Barnes... ?? 2mo
38 likes1 stack add4 comments
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ferskner
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

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

HeatherBookNerd I loved his The Sense of an Ending. May need to get to this one at some point. 3mo
ferskner I haven't read that one yet but I need to push it up the list. 3mo
71 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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amok
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
Pickpick

A real treat if you like a good story with characters who are dynamic and worked out in depth.

RaimeyGallant Good to know! And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 4mo
LitsyWelcomeWagon Welcome to Litsy! Here are direct links to #Litsytips: http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: goo.gl/UrCpoU. There‘s lots of fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! 4mo
3 likes2 comments
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Rupi
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Book #26

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Eeb
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
Mehso-so

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.

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Anna40
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

"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.

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Nag1
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes

But my nineteen-year-old self would correct the court: "understanding" love is for later, "understanding" love verges on practicality, "understanding" love is for when the heart has cooled. (Page 110-111)

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ephemeralwaltz
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Starting this one on the train 👌

ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I love Julian Barnes! I haven‘t read this one, though- stacked! 6mo
catiewithac 🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾 6mo
Pruzy I read this one! Interested to know what you think! 6mo
ephemeralwaltz @Pruzy will definitely post my thoughts 🤓🤓 6mo
78 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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SMM
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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“First loves fixes a life forever... it may not outrank subsequent loves, but they will always be affected by its existence.”

1 like1 stack add
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mgallo1968
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Finishing this one..🛶🌤📚

Anna40 Do you like It? I loved Sense of an Ending and borrowed the only Julian Barnes they had in the library, Arthur & George but not too interested in the story... 14mo
mgallo1968 @Anna40 This one has much more the feel of SENSE OF AN ENDING. Good, and complex and sad. I love his writing. SOAE for sure my favorite of his. (edited) 14mo
Anna40 @mgallo1968 will get this one after reading my current book. The story of Arthur and George just didn't really interest me. ... 14mo
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mgallo1968
Only Story | Julian Barnes
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Love it when requested books come in at the library! 🤓❤️📚👍

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charl08
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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So depressing! I was hoping for something a little lighter.

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Briget66
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Bailedbailed

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.

CarolynM Maybe try again later? I find I have to be in the right mood for Julian Barnes. When I am I love him. 1y
8 likes1 comment
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mauveandrosysky
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

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.

LeahBergen I‘m looking forward to this one. 1y
26 likes1 stack add1 comment
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catebutler
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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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?

jfalkens Happy birthday to both of you! 1y
catebutler @jfalkens Thank you so much, Jamie! 😊👋🏼 1y
JoScho Have fun!! 1y
See All 7 Comments
catebutler @JoScho Thanks Jody! 1y
HotCocoaReads Can‘t wait to talk about The Only Story with you. His prose is beautiful!!! 1y
EvieBee Have fun! Lovely Kindle and sleeves! 1y
BiblioLitten Have a lovely weekend! Neat sleeve😊 1y
40 likes7 comments
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HotCocoaReads
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

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!

ephemeralwaltz Gorgeous photo! 1y
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BookishMe
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Started these... Both demand rapt attention to each skilfully crafted line.

I will devote time to complete my first Barnes before continuing with the MBP Longlist

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catiewithac
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

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!

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Hooked_on_books
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Bailedbailed

I‘m throwing in the towel on this one after 50 pages. I‘m finding it a bit impenetrable and remote and the British slang isn‘t helping, either. Not for me.

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Waynegjr
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

Head out to your local independent bookstore today and pick this guy up. A introspective and very British look at memory and love over the course of a lifetime. It‘s amazing what Barnes can do in such a short little book. Highly recommended.

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Peaslady
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Mehso-so

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.

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Peaslady
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes

‘And first love always happens in the overwhelming first person. How can it not? Also, in the overwhelming present tense. It takes us time to realise we that there are persons, and other tenses.‘ p. 71

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Peaslady
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes

‘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

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spine_destroyer
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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doodlebug55
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
Pickpick

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.

Itchyfeetreader Lovely review 1y
16 likes2 comments
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AlexGeorge
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
Mehso-so

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.

kalinichta What Barnes would you suggest a newbie start with? 1y
AlexGeorge Probably THE SENSE OF AN ENDING. His books are all quite different. I really enjoyed some of his less celebrated stuff, like TALKING IT OVER and LOVE, ETC. 1y
18 likes2 comments
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doodlebug55
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Excited to start reading this!

RaimeyGallant Welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. 1y
RaimeyGallant My pleasure. :) 1y
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BookishMe Welcome to Litsy 👋🏾 👋🏾 1y
doodlebug55 Thank you @BookishMe :) 1y
Chelleo Welcome🤗 1y
doodlebug55 Thank you @Chelleo ! :) 1y
cobwebmoth Welcome to Litsy! 1y
OrangeMooseReads Welcome to Litsy! Thanks for the tag @Jess7 1y
LeahBergen Hello, @doodlebug050 👋🏻 and thanks for the tag, @Jess7 ! 😘 1y
doodlebug55 Thank you @Jess7 ! :) 1y
doodlebug55 Hi @cobwebmoth @OrangeMooseReads @LeahBergen ! Thank you for the kind welcome! :) 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!!! 💞📚🎉🎊💕 A few more littens to follow @GarthRanzz @Robothugs @batsy @GypsyKat @Christine11 @Lindy @Tamra @Jas16 @RestlessFickleBookHoarder and so many more!!! 1y
GarthRanzz Welcome @doodlebug050! And thanks for the tag @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks! 1y
GypsyKat @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thanks for the tag! 😘 And welcome to Litsy @doodlebug050 🎉📚🎊 1y
RestlessFickleBookHoarder WELCOME TO LITSY 🎉🎉🎉🎉👏👏👏👏😁😁😁 1y
Christine11 Thanks for the tag @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 😘💕 and Welcome to Litsy @doodlebug050 ! Hope you love it here! 😊🌸🎉 1y
BookaholicNatty Welcome welcome!!!! So happy to have a new book friend!!! ❤️📚 1y
doodlebug55 Thank you @RestlessFickleBookHoarder @Christine11 @BookaholicNatty ! Excited to be part of this community 😊 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome 🙌🏻🎉📚 1y
22 likes23 comments
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cykitan
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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1 like1 stack add
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AlexGeorge
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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It feels like I‘ve been waiting for this book my whole life.

catiewithac How‘d you get an early copy?! So lucky!! 2y
AlexGeorge Picked it up in the galley room at the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in Memphis. A truly wonderful, but dangerous, place. 2y
20 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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Nikki15
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

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? ❤️

Reggie I feel it‘s a little too early in the morning (where I am, 4a.m.) for these type of questions but I am intrigued. Stacked. 2y
71 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Redheadrambles
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️

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.

Redheadrambles #readharder2018 - Book cover you hate ( those splotches drove me mad I kept trying to wipe them off ) 2y
KarenUK Oh that‘s funny... I love that cover! 😂 2y
Redheadrambles @KarenUK I guess I have a thing against inky splotches hehe 🤭 2y
22 likes3 comments
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Nikki15
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Hopefully a love story and a steaming earl grey will keep me warm on this bitterly cold commute to work! 📚❄️☕️

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CarolynM
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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#riotgrams #bookandabeverage

Celebrating 21 years of parenthood with a glass of champagne

Sue Congrats! You made it! 2y
erzascarletbookgasm 🥂 Look forward to hear what you think about the boook :) 2y
DivineDiana Cheers! 👏🏻 2y
batsy Cheers! 🎉 2y
Jeg Looking forward to hearing what you think. Congrats on 21 years of parenting! 2y
39 likes5 comments
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Moray_Reads
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Pickpick

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.

LeahBergen Oh, this sounds amazing. Stacked. 2y
Moray_Reads @LeahBergen at first I didn't think it was anything special (in that anything immaculately with can be not-special) but then it turned into something marvellous 2y
Simona Stacked! I was debating (with my self) if I want to read it ... 2y
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KikiLovesBooks
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Just for the record, the context of this is between two people having an affair, but I agree with the basic tenet here; there aren‘t limits to love. ( I‘m not condoning open marriages in any way!)

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KikiLovesBooks
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Reading this, feels a little like A Sense of an Ending.

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shawnmooney
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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I have never read any of his stuff. Am I missing out? Sure like the cover of this one, due out in February!

Anovelobsession I have only read The Sense of an Ending which I loved. Unreliable narrator, misperceptions, the lies we tell ourselves and come to believe - highly recommend! 2y
Vansa I loved ' The noise of time ', lovely analysis of human behaviour under pressure. 2y
shawnmooney @Anovelobsession @Vansa Thank you! I think I have The Sense of an Ending on my shelf. 2y
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LubicaP
The Only Story: A novel | Julian Barnes
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Julian Barnes reading from his new book at a Vintage Showcase event yesterday. And I was lucky enough to get a proof copy!