'I don't believe in God, but I miss Him.' Julian Barnes' new book is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his philosopher brother, a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the French writer Jules Renard. Though he warns us that 'this is not my autobiography', the result is a tour of the mind of one of our most brilliant writers.
Both fun and funny. It is sharp too, in the sense of painful as well as witty... Barnes dissects with tremendous verve and insight this awesome inevitability of death and its impact on the human psyche. He also tears at your heart
A maverick form of family memoir that is mainly an extended reflection on the fear of death and on that great consolation, religious belief... It is entertaining, intriguing, absorbing...an inventive and invigorating slant on what is nowadays called 'life writing'. It took me hours to write this review because each reference to my notes set me off rereading; that is a reviewer's ultimate accolade
A brilliant bible of elegant despair...that most urgent kind of self-help manual: the one you must read before you die
An elegant memoir and meditation. A deep seismic tremor of a book that keeps rumbling and grumbling in the mind for weeks thereafter
No year is complete without a bit of reading reflection, and as we gaze at 2019's shelves, we're more than a bit pleased with the boldness and breadth of the last 12 months of VINTAGE books. From an insider's look at the realities of modern-day poverty to an acclaimed expose of the data bias towards men, and a long-awaited, Booker-winning dystopian smash hit, here are 10 of the biggest highlights.
Man Booker prize winner Julian Barnes' latest novel The Only Story is a poignant and tender portrayal of first love. Read on for an extract