AUTHOR – JULIAN BARNES
PUBLISHED IN – 2011
PAGES – 150
I hated it. And I loved it. I loved the way the book unfolded. I hated the way the book kept on wrapping itself.
I just know that I never want to read it again and go through the entire trauma of the narrative because it was that good. I am aware that I don’t make much sense here. If it was good, why won’t I read it again? Despite what Oscar Wilde said about rereading: if one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all, I believe that there are a few books that one should leave alone and never pick them up again.
Anthony or just Tony narrates throughout the book about his friendship with Adrian and their relationship with Veronica, a girl both of them fell in love with. Thereafter it’s just an avalanche of emotions. I don’t want to go into the details of the plot because honestly I have been trying to forget about it since yesterday. Adrian is the smarter one among Tony’s friends and answers everything perfectly aligned with philosophy. One couldn’t argue with him. He was that good. After Tony and Veronica break up, she goes to Adrian. Tony loses his contact with both of them. Later he hears that Adrian committed suicide. Yet, life goes on for him. He marries, has a daughter, gets divorced, marries off his daughter, retires…he does it all and seems to believe that everything is just the way it should be. He then receives a letter from Veronica’s mother as her last will and gets pulled into the past. Veronica’s mother leaves with him Adrian’s diary before he died and some money. Rest of the story is just Tony trying to find out the whys.
I am so done with this book. Never hearing a word about it again. It broke me that badly.
This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.
Can I get this tattooed on my forehead so that I can see this every morning?
It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.
Do you ever remember something and then you start thinking whether that really happened or you just made it up as you grew old and now it’s a part of your memory and you have no way of checking it’s authenticity? Memory is a funny thing.
Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also—if this isn’t too grand a word—our tragedy.
Holy shit. This book is just dropping truth bombs that I wasn’t prepared for.
And since I have been thinking about death and dying a lot, here’s Oscar Wilde ruining my expectations of whatever living is:
Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death’s house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is.
Did I cry myself to sleep yesterday? Absolutely.