• The Only Story

  • By: Julian Barnes
  • Narrated by: Guy Mott
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 02-01-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (10 ratings)

Regular price: $18.11

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Publisher's Summary

'Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.'
First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at 19. At 19, he's proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention. As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.
©2018 Julian Barnes (P)2018 W.F. Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Malcolm Hart on 02-10-18

Barnes is superb as alway.

If you enjoy Julian Barnes’ writing as I do, you’ll enjoy this book. If your new to Barnes then I suggest you start with Sense of an Ending and then return to this.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Rachel Redford on 02-21-18

Love's Labour Lost?


19 year-old university student Paul fell in love with 48 year-old Susan at his home-village tennis club. Married to a bitter, onion-munching and progressively violent man, Susan seizes the chance of happiness with Paul. They ‘run away together’ as the expression then was and predictably it all in ends in tears. Their love-making becomes the ‘saddest sex of all’, Susan, isolated, become a hopeless alcoholic and Paul’s love turns to impotent pity and anger. He never marries.

So far so apparently dreary, but not when written by Julian Barnes. It’s the shifting of Paul’s narrative from first, second, and third person, and old man Paul reflecting on his young self’s experience of the ‘story’, subtly exploring the progressive damage wrought by their affair which makes this deceptively ordinary everyday story so disturbing, forcing listeners into analysing their own experiences of love and loss.

The effect of Susan’s disintegration on Paul is minutely observed, and the character of Susan’s elderly friend Joan, living alone with her dogs having got her life sadly wrong, are haunting. The narration is excellent, capturing a range of narrative voices young and old, male and female convincingly and sympathetically – a real achievement.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Cassie Havisham on 05-03-18

A drain

I couldn't warm to the characters or to Paul's later obsessive self-absorption.
Quite a few stylish tics too.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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