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The Only Story
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Archive: Other Books > The Only Story - Julian Barnes - 4 solid stars

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Susie | 4488 comments Those of you who have read Barnes before will know that his writing appears effortless, his prose is lovely to read, his characters are well drawn, flawed but likeable, he is witty and insightful, and an absolute pleasure to read. The Only Story is no exception. Barnes muses about love through his character Paul, and nineteen year old home from university for the holidays. Paul's parents insist that he join the local tennis club to give him something to do. He is paired with Susan during a doubles tournament and they subsequently fall in love. The catch is that Susan is a 48 year old woman who is married with two adult children.

As with Barnes' other novels, The Only Story is character driven and not heavy on the plot. If that is not your thing, steer clear, but if you enjoy and character study now and then, give it a go.


Tracy (tstan) | 1194 comments Waiting ‘patiently’ for this to come out in the states....


message 3: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I have never read Barnes but you review has me intrigued. Adding to TBR.


Susie | 4488 comments Jason, The Sense of an Ending is his most highly regarded work and I thought it was wonderful. I’d start with that. 😊


message 5: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6431 comments Sadly I am in Jason's camp. Want to read Barnes and somehow never get around to it.


message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8519 comments I never have either, but I have heard that people love his work.


Tracy (tstan) | 1194 comments I just finished this in one sitting. It’s a terrific character study, though the characters are certainly flawed. At least Paul knows and admits his flaws.
Anita and Amy- I do think you’d like his writing, especially the most recent books.
There is a lot to think about with his writing, and he’s so skilled.


message 8: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments The only Barnes I have read is A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, which I used to read in the Bahamas on a sailboat laying in a topside hammock.

I fear that nothing will live up to that...


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