Review by Booklist Review
At once commanding and subtle, Barnes has created a refined novel intensely suspenseful in its emotional complexities and exemplary in its arresting tropes, rhythms, revelations, and musings on the puzzle of time and the mysteries of memory and desire. And how masterfully Barnes induces us, page by page, to revise our perceptions of and feelings toward his ensnared narrator. Cordially divorced and smugly retired, Tony is yanked out of complacency by a perplexing letter. The recently deceased mother of his disastrous first love has inexplicably bequeathed him the diary of a school friend of his who committed suicide. As Tony seeks an explanation, Barnes turns evocative motifs--the way Tony and his friends wore their watches with the faces on the inside of their wrists; the night Tony witnessed the Severn Bore, a powerful tidal surge that reverses the river's flow--into metaphors for how we distort the past and how oblivious we are to the pain of others. Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Barnes' sublimely modulated and profoundly disquieting tale of delusion, loss, and remorse ends devastatingly with a crescendo twist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Barnes is a British author Americans follow with high attention, and this novel secured him the Man Booker Prize.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In Barnes's (Flaubert's Parrot) latest, winner of the 2011 Man-Booker Prize, protagonist Tony Webster has lived an average life with an unremarkable career, a quiet divorce, and a calm middle age. Now in his mid-60s, his retirement is thrown into confusion when he's bequeathed a journal that belonged to his brilliant school-friend, Adrian, who committed suicide 40 years earlier at age 22. Though he thought he understood the events of his youth, he's forced to radically revise what he thought he knew about Adrian, his bitter parting with his mysterious first lover Veronica, and reflect on how he let life pass him by safely and predictably. Barnes's spare and luminous prose splendidly evokes the sense of a life whose meaning (or meaninglessness) is inevitably defined by "the sense of an ending" which only death provides. Despite its focus on the blindness of youth and the passage of time, Barnes's book is entirely unpretentious. From the haunting images of its first pages to the surprising and wrenching finale, the novel carries readers with sensitivity and wisdom through the agony of lost time. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by Library Journal Review
When we look back on our lives, what do we remember from our experiences? Tony's story starts and finishes with his school chums, one of whom commits suicide during his college years, and his first girlfriend. When he is contacted by someone from 40 years in his past, he must reexamine events, memories, causes, and results. The pacing is steady and the insights poignant, although the ending is a bit contrived. Narrator Richard Morant moves smoothly between the awkward, loud voice of an English schoolboy, the all-knowing college student, and the resigned elder. VERDICT Barnes's 14th book and winner of the Man Booker Prize, this short novel will best appeal to readers of introspective literature. [The Knopf hc, published in October, was a New York Times best seller.-Ed.]-J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.