- Source:Booklist; 12/15/2018, Vol. 115 Issue 8, p25-44, 20p, 57 Color Photographs, 1 Black and White Photograph
- Document Type:Book Review
- Publication Information:American Library Association / Booklist Publications
- Subject Terms:
Booklist Reviews 2018 March #1
*Starred Review* In his newest mesmeric novel, Barnes, as in his Man Booker Prize-winner, The Sense of an Ending (2011), portrays an older man, Paul, looking back at his early life. The title refers to how we all have one love story we tell that defines our lives as well as to the old conception of the novel as a literary form that explores love. In this instance, Paul details how at 19, toward the end of the 1960s in leafy Surrey, just outside London, he fell in love with Susan McLeod, a 48-year-old married woman, at a tennis club. As Paul and Susan plunge ever-deeper into love, Barnes beautifully demonstrates that their romantic fantasy—and, by extension, the novel as a genre focused solely on love—struggles to survive in the face of violence, financial practicalities, and alcoholism. With a narrator every bit as intriguing as Stevens in Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day (1989), the novel slowly unfurls, and the reader drifts along on Barnes' gorgeous, undulating prose. Focusing on love, memory, nostalgia, and how contemporary Britain came to be, Barnes' latest will enrapture readers from beginning to end. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 November #2
A love affair between a 48-year-old and a 19-year-old is hardly unheard of, but Man Booker Prize winner Barnes reverses gender expectations, with home-from-university Paul falling for married mother Susan Mcleod when they're partnered together at a mixed doubles tournament at their south-of-London tennis club. First, they're lovers, then they're living together, combating irate family members on both sides. Decades later, with Susan dead, Paul contemplates all that went so well and all that finally went wrong.Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2018 April #2
At age 19, Paul meets 48-year-old Susan Macleod at the local tennis club and the two begin an affair that lasts for more than a decade. Paul reflects on the heady, happy early years of the relationship and then delves into its darker passages and eventual disintegration, which haunts him throughout his life. The specificity of the circumstances and personalities of Paul and Susan make it clear that this is not an "older woman schools young man in love and sends him into the world" tale. Overall, it is a story about memory. Man Booker Prize winner Barnes (
PW Reviews 2018 February #3
Barnes's deeply touching novel is a study of heartbreak; like his Man Booker Prize–winning