Erika's Reviews > Talking It Over

Talking It Over by Julian Barnes
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Jul 03, 12

Read from June 21 to 24, 2012

This is the first Julian Barnes I've read. One word comes to mind to describe his writing and that is "control". How can I explain that more? There are no extra words, ideas, paragraphs, characters, or scenes in his book. Every word is tightly woven into the story. All writers aspire to achieve that. Julian Barnes' Talking It Over is an excellent and rare example of that kind of control. I get the sense that Barnes knows exactly what he wants to say and gets straight to the business of saying it, even though I'm sure the process of writing it down is more complicated than that.
The book is a page turner. Not predictable drugstore pulp, because the tone of the book is more sophisticated than that. But Barnes is a master of plot, giving enough away to make you wonder why, and holding enough back to keep you wondering how? I'd like to know if he gets into his plot in detail before beginning to write, or if he reigns in his creations while editing.
Another commendation, his characters are interesting right off the bat. I especially liked Oliver (though I'd loathe him if I knew him in the real world). Barnes uses the different characters' voices in just the right doses, allowing them to go on at length to develop the plot at times, and giving them just a few lines to sprinkle in tension at others. The voices bounce off each other to show the same stories from their various points of view, and it's great fun for the reader to anticipate what each of their different stories will be.
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message 1: by Carole (new)

Carole Yeaman One of the on-line reviews of this book said:
"They sure do."

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