This is the first time I’ve read anything by Julian Barnes.  He writes as I find some Royal Brits speak, as if trying to swallow their tongues whole.  The rampant use of obscure terminology slowed the story flow to a near stop on numerous occasions, not because I didn’t get the meaning but because of time spent unnecessarily determining the usage, the fit, contextually.

Yet, all that said, the story’s main protagonist is so wonderfully, fatally flawed that only his mother could love him, but the reader really wants to.  The story has an impressive surprise ending I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years, and the book is chock full of both the wisdom and the winsome about leading your life or simply letting it happen and examines deeply the implications of time and aging, memory and remorse.

I was torn on this book.  At times I wanted to return it unfinished to the friend who so kindly lent it to me.  At other times I wanted to rush out and purchase my own copy so I would have it to refer to in the future.  Because of this constant tug between two conflicted directions it took a longer time than usual to read this small book.

All things considered, therefore, it rides the fence at three out of five stars.

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Have you read it?  I’d love to hear what you think.