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Before She Met Me
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Before She Met Me

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,404 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Graham was an historian: he was meant to be an expert on the past. But there were aspects of it, he discovered, that couldn't be subdued, that simply carried on, lively and painful, as if they were the present. He began to mind. He minded very much indeed.

While those around him look on - with concern, with contempt, with amusement - Graham's meticulous passion gradually be
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 18th 2005 by Picador USA (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,194)
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Teresa
When I reviewed England, England, I wrote that it was the first time I'd given a Barnes less than 4 stars. This is now the first time I've given one of his works less than 3 stars. I plan on reading them all, so I hope to never give one only a single star.

Barnes explores retrospective obsessive sexual jealousy to its ridiculous extreme, and to an inevitable (?) conclusion, but reading about the sexual act (and that's basically all this is about -- why isn't Graham jealous about other things conc
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Paul Bryant
The moral of this book, and it is a good one, is that you should not get married to someone who, if they discover by accident that you had an earlier career as a porn actress which you felt, quite understandably, that you didn't need to mention, will go very quietly raving mad, so quietly that there will be no signs that you should get the hell out of the house.
Mirela Vasile (Dinny)
Păcat de coperta asta frumoasa. Două stele pentru ea și pentru ceva ce încă nu mi-e clar. Poate pentru răbdarea de a o termina.

L.E. Am cumparat cartea asta in primul rand ca sa vad ce-i mai poate capul autorului, dupa ce "Iubire etc." ma impresionase destul de puternic si in al doilea rand datorita copertii minunate dupa gustul meu.
Am ramas cu o coperta frumoasa in biblioteca (si cu cartea, caci totusi n-am distrus-o :P ) si cu parerea de rau pentru banii dati (reducere, totusi, din fericire), c
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Andy
Feb 17, 2008 Andy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: erotic fiction, Richard E. Grant fans
Shelves: kool-imports
A semi-creepy erotic novel about a neurotic wimp who discovers his second wife had a short lived career in low-budget sex comedies (she never told him) so he obsessively investigates her past sex life. There are times when the story’s amusing and times when it’s just plain irritating.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS BOOK: This book would make a good BBC America TV movie with Richard E. Grant playing the nutty husband. I could see him making this story entertaining, otherwise we’re doomed.
Sean
I could have used this book when I was 19/20. I wouldn't have been any less crazy, but at least I would have known I wasn't the only guy with serious, serious jealousy issues. This book and Portnoy's Complaint are all women need to know about men. If you still like us in the morning, you're brave indeed.
Zornitsa
I have never read something so flat from Barnes. It just failed to move - on and on, the meaningless obsession of the unappealing protagonist, a man switching to a younger, peroxide wife then feeling uncontrollably jealous of her past. Other characters were just as unpleasant - the bimbo herself, the writer friend with his fart jokes, the calculating first wife...
I love Barnes for an elegance that sometimes means depth, like a precision tool you'd use to extract something from a hard-to-reach pl
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Mark
Iago:

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss,
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger:
But O, what damnèd minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!


Othello: O misery!

Torn between affection and anxiety, and suspicious of his wife's tendency towards infidelity and riddled with retrospective jealousy - the poor man is unable to live with his see-sawing emotions and is driven i
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Luisa Fer
British authors are so daring. It seems almost a contradiction. Here is this book which portrays a completely different sort of jealousy and Julian Barnes shows it with painful detail. It's so real that one wonders if we're all bound to crack at one point.
Razvan Zamfirescu
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu



.......................................

Felul în care Barnes vorbește despre gelozie este incredibil de coerent, o spun pentru că been there, done that, iar exagerările pe care Graham le trăiește sunt veridice, înclinate ușor spre patologic, dar reale. Este adevărat că am crezut că astfel de trăiri sunt specifice adolescenților sau tinerilor încă necopți, nicidecum nu pot face parte din serenitatea care ar trebui să marcheze la vârsta pe
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Laura
Graham spends a brief period of time patting himself on the back after he meets Ann. She's pretty, sexually adventurous and a world away from his pedestrian wife Barbara. Quite why Ann's interested in insecure historian Graham is uncertain-the nice, safe guy after all of the wild boys of her youth?-but anyway, she is, they marry and Graham starts Part 2 of his life scarcely believing his luck.

But one day he takes his daughter to the pictures and spots the lovely Ann in one of her sexy cinematic
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Tal
At the start of this fiendishly comic and suspenseful novel, a mild-mannered English academic chuckles as he watches his wife commit adultery. The action takes place she met him. But lines between film and reality, past and present become terrifyingly blurred in this sad and funny tour de force from the author of Flaubert's Parrot.

i read this book for my book club - it was entirely *not* my kind of book and i disagree that it is "comic" or "suspenseful". i assume that i thought it was dull and k
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Miriam
Fuerte descripción de celos tan intensos que llegan a doler al lector
Anh Thư
A disappointing tale about a pathetic and creepy man. This is not the Julian Barnes who authored "The Sense of an Ending". However, it's sort of interesting to see a different side of him, someone who can be patient enough to depict the abyss of evil someone can fall into out of enraged jealousy, an elaborate example of "you're your own worst enemy" or "too much love will kill you". It's probable everyone of us goes through the same sort of obsession with a love interest so we could at least sym ...more
Damien Mosley
I read Before She Met Me straight after I finished The Sense of Ending, the only other of Julian Barnes's book's I have read. Going back three decades to Barnes's earlier work after reading such a complete work of art that is The Sense of Ending gives great insight into his growth as a writer. Before She Met Me is very readable but obviously no where near as good his Booker Prize winner and had an interesting if not a bit comic story line. I enjoyed the book and it's flow. I could see a lot of p ...more
Bookaholic
Reeditată în urmă cu câteva luni de către Editura Nemira, în traducerea binecunoscutului Radu Paraschivescu (care, de altfel, l-a tot tradus pe Barnes în română), Până când m-a cunoscut este un „clasic” marca Julian Barnes (apărut, în original, în 1982 – cu titlul Before She Met Me), o desfășurare de forțe pe linia obsesiei provocate de gelozie. Târziu sau nu, mă bucur că am ajuns să recuperez o lectură pe care o doream de mult – și încă mai am de acoperit volume din opera lui Barnes. Cititorii ...more
Anna
I enjoyed several books by Barnes. Why, I actually loved them. I was so looking forward to reading this one, that's probably why the disappointment was really huge. For me, this book looked like a mix of pornography + a weak attempt at some psychological analysis. It was ugly, it was boring, it was disgusting at some places and totally implausible at others.

I'm glad I'm done with it and I hope other books by Barnes are more like Talking It Over than Before She Met Me.
Gerald
Aug 23, 2008 Gerald rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: serious students of literary style in fulfilled relationships
I can't remember finishing a book and immediately regretting that I'd read it. The disappointment here isn't any lack of artistry in the crafting of the book. No, it's simpler than that, and perhaps it's just my mistake for picking it up. I thought it was a comic novel. Indeed, it starts out that way. But it's a cynical character study, with a bloody bummer ending. Sorry, Barnes fans. He's lost me.
Jan
I'm not really sure why I finished this book. I stopped about 2/3 of the way through because I didn't really see where it was going and I wasn't that interested in the characters, but curiosity (and endless miles to go on the treadmill) brought me back to it. Nope, it didn't really go anyplace that made sense. I suppose it's literature-y, but not my cup of tea.
Lil
Painfully boring story of a man who becomes insanely jealous of his wife's previous lovers and more. Hated the characters and the only suspense was "when is this going to end?" There were a couple of funny lines but the book's most redeeming quality was that is was short.
Amber
I very much liked this book and found it very engaging. The end was shocking and you find yourself wrapped up in a world that seems crazy yet plausible. Highly recommend.
David
Not so much a novel as a discourse on retrospective jealousy. Graham Hendrick becomes absorbed by the past affairs of his second wife Ann, despite being hugely in love with her and she with him. I find this hard to imagine, although I guess we have all wondered to a varying degree. It's just that Graham takes it to extremes. But it makes for a highly entertaining story, even if there is no plot a such. Only the second novel Barnes wrote, I actually preferred his first "Metroland". Thirty years l ...more
Mark Speed
I was very surprised to learn, some years after reading it, that this was Barnes's second novel. Quite different to Metroland. I wondered how much this novel had to do with his own personal life.

There are a number of passages in it which still ring around my head. One was the description of the female protagonist's clothes. Another was how she engineered a disagreement to let someone else see that the relationship wasn't perfect.
Maud
Not one of Barnes' best works.
Carlos
“De cualquier forma los celos son en realidad una consecuencia del amor: os guste o no, existen”. Esta frase, de Robert Louis Stevenson, queda como anillo al dedo a la novela “Antes de conocernos”, del escritor inglés Julian Barnes. Esta jugosa historia de amor nos revela maravillosos pasajes sobre las obsesiones, las pulsiones, los traumas y los temores que todos los humanos sentimos cuando amamos.
Barnes es un novelista con una amplia trayectoria; sus más de once novelas dejan clara huella de l
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Oleksandr Stukalo
На одну книжку Барнза цілих два трупи. Це вже неабищо, як сказав би Григорій Шевченко, якби дожив хоча б досюда.
Правда, трупи з’являються в самому кінці й досить неочікувано, а з іншого боку якось же треба було закінчити цю нескінченну вічну тему ретроспективних ревнощів. Складно не ревнувати свою теперішню жінку до її минулого, якщо ти розлучений викладач історії, а вона всю жизнь знімалась у кіно.
Але загалом це не найкраща видозміна теми "чужі історії - моя історія - пам’ять".
Радісно одне -
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Núria
'El loro de Flaubert' me pareció muy bueno, 'Amor, etc.' estaba bastante bien, pero 'Antes de conocernos' ha sido bastante insufrible. Pero daré un voto de confianza a Julian Barnes y lo indultaré (de momento), porque al fin y al cabo 'Antes de conocernos' es sólo su segundo libro. Me ha parecido altamente previsible y totalmente prescindible. Empieza con un hombre que pasa por la crisis de los 40 y deja a su mujer y se vuelve a casar. Un día descubre que, antes de conocer a su nueva mujer, ésta ...more
Stephen Curran
If you want to write a story about animal instinct verses rational thought, it's a sound idea to have your main character succumbing to sexual jealousy. Before She Met Me sees its unassuming protagonist turn rapidly from "a very sensible person" into a "little Othello" when confronted with his second wife's past. He can't help it. In the end, he even gives up trying to justify his appalling behaviour: it's out of his hands.

This is a solid, thoughtful, frank novel, with a wince-inducing climax.
Irene Lo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Serafina Sands
One of the things I really enjoy about Barnes is that he is so very, very British. (The great writing and believable dialogue don't hurt, either!) Here, he focuses on one man's obsessive and illogical jealousy regarding the men who were in his second wife's past before he met her. In doing so, he explores how the brain works, how we change over time, and whether it is possible to change back.
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Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer of postmodernism in literature. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize--- Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005), and won the prize for The Sense of an Ending (2011). He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

Following an education at the City of London School
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More about Julian Barnes...
The Sense of an Ending Arthur & George A History of the World in 10½  Chapters Flaubert's Parrot Talking It Over

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