There are so many things I love about this book that’s it’s hard to know where to begin. Let me begin then with the cover which I loved for it’s artistry before I began to read, and for it’s aptness after I finished! You’ll just have to read the book to understand 🙂 Loved the first paragraph and most especially the last line. Loved the author’s way with words, the way he uses them to breathe new life into well established ancient truths…“We live in time – it hold us and moulds us…and yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally it seems to go missing – until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.” How beautifully stated, how true, how terrible.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that describes the human condition and relationships in quite this way before. The ease with which Barnes describes an average, everyday life, such as most of us might hope to live, even strive towards, like Tony does, carefully, cautiously and willfully, is at once exemplary and frightening. It’s the same way he describes memory and human remembrances and their mutability. “I must get out there and ‘do’ something, ‘make something happen’ before Life passes me by,” is the thought that resonates in me when I finish.
Most of the characters in the book are left deliberately ambiguous (or at least that’s how I felt), except to an extent, Tony’s, and yet Barnes manages to sketch a clear picture of them at decisive moments in the narrative through clever dialogue and more often through Tony’s introspection and memories of events. A formidable skill! Tony, Veronica and Adrian, a trio of unforgettable characters that will stay with me for a long time. After reading The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine just yesterday, it’s feels wonderful to have found two books that have become favorites in two days! Or is it?!
A must read!!
- Julian Barnes: Why a novel is like an armadillo (telegraph.co.uk)
- Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch (crazygoangirl.wordpress.com)
- The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (crazygoangirl.wordpress.com)