THE ONLY STORY
BY JULIAN BARNES
unconventional tale of first love.
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‘Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.’
Extract from The Only Story
First published in 2018 and now in paperback, The Only Story is an unconventional but tender tale of first love set in post war suburbia.
Written by Julian Barnes whose previous book won the Booker Prize* you can expert a beautifully crafted novel that makes it seem effortless to read. So already a great start.
Barnes opens in the first person, by Paul, a young restless undergraduate who is bored with his smug middle-class life and inadvertently falls for Mrs Susan Macleod, a Mrs Robinson character, who is introduced to him at his mother’s local tennis club.
You will be lured into thinking this is going to be a romantic adventure of the heart between a (pardon the term) ’milf’ and her younger manstress. But don’t get too comfortable.
Without giving too much away, The Only Story is a novel that deeply probes our understanding of first love and we were certainly divided on how credible this relationship could be especially in post-war Britain. Whether you like how the story develops this book will move you and it certainly had our Den debating the impact of a generational affair. Scored high marks overall and is definitely a solid read for book clubs.
* Winner of 2011 Booker Prize for 'The Sense of an Ending'
Other notable works by Julian Barnes include Flaubert’s Parrot, 'Metroland', 'Before She Met Me', 'A History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters'.
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