You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed…
In Levels of Life Julian Barnes gives us Nadar, the pioneer balloonist and aerial photographer; he gives us Colonel Fred Burnaby, reluctant adorer of the extravagant Sarah Bernhardt; then, finally, he gives us the story of his own grief, unflinchingly observed.
This is a book of intense honesty and insight; it is at once a celebration of love and a profound examination of sorrow.
**ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY**
It is extraordinary... [It] would seem to pull off the impossible: to recreate, on the page, what it is like to be alive in the world.
This is a book of rare intimacy and honesty about love and grief. To read it is a privilege. To have written it is astonishing.
It’s an unrestrained, affecting piece of writing, raw and honest and more truthful for its dignity and artistry... Anyone who has loved and suffered loss, or just suffered, should read this book, and re-read it, and re-read it.
Levels of Life is both a supremely crafted artefact and a desolating guidebook to the land of loss.
While one might expect a Barnes book to impress, delight, move, disconcert or amuse, the last thing for which his work prepares us is the blast of paralysingly direct emotion that concludes Levels of Life.
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.
An extract from the archive edition of Metroland
Man Booker Prize-winner Julian Barnes discusses the cover design of his new novel, The Noise of Time, with Suzanne Dean. Joined by Alex Clark, they recall key moments in their twenty-year working relationship, as well as the iconic covers that have been created.