The Only Story
One summer in the sixties, in a staid suburb south of London, nineteen-year-old Paul comes home from university and is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. There he’s partnered with Susan Macleod, a fine player who’s forty-eight, confident, witty, and married, with two nearly adult daughters. She is a warm companion, her bond with Paul immediate. And soon, inevitably, they are lovers.
Basking in the glow of one another, they set up house together in London. Decades later, Paul looks back at how they fell in love and how -gradually, relentlessly – everything fell apart. As he turns over his only story in his mind, examining it from different vantage points, he finds himself confronted with the contradictions and slips of his own memory and the ways in which our narratives and our lives shape one another.
About the Author
Julian Barnes is the author of twenty-two previous books. He received the Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending, and has also received the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature, and many more awards. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in London.
The novel is a retrospective “history” of the first love and its unforseen impact on the character and life of a protagonist (and narrator in one person). The story told with wry humour and deep sadness reveals itself in his memory as something bright and vague if not erratic at the same time. This is a tour-de-force of Julian Barnes, who is in his late seventies. M. Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Russia