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Before She Met Me by [Barnes, Julian]
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Before She Met Me Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Length: 226 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

"A short and brutally brilliant novel about a relationship ruined by jealousy, this is packed with acute observations about the nature of love" (Metro)

"Frighteningly plausible... stunningly well done" (Guardian)

"Funny, sad and faintly ominous...making jealousy tangible and dangerous" (Spectator)

"An intelligent and addictive entertainment... Mr Barnes has succeeded in writing one of those books that keep us up until 2am reading just one chapter more... few will be able to resist its easy humour and almost insidious readability" (New York Times Book Review)

"Compelling" (Daily Express)

Book Description

'A remarkably original and subtle novel' Frank Kermode, New York Review of Books

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 601 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (14 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0038AUYPK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #112,073 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is Julian Barnes' (JB) second novel, first published in 1982, when it was warmly reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic. The BBC may have considered a TV-film or mini series (still a serious option). But in the age of the internet, the book seems largely forgotten and is rarely and if so, rather poorly reviewed, although it shares several themes with "The Sense of an Ending", which earned JB the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Well paced and written with plenty of fun, wit and shining with brilliance, this book deals with a world-shy academic's fateful choices and obsessions.

Graham (38) had been married for 15 years with souring Barbara when he met Ann (31. They begin an affair. When found out, he moves in with Ann with a half-filled suitcase, leaving car- and house keys on the kitchen table, agreeing to pay off the mortgage and provide child support for daughter Alice.

He is a university lecturer in London, Ann a senior buyer for a major retail chain. They live in bliss until Barbara lures him into taking Alice to see a film in which Ann appears briefly. When challenged, Barbara says it was for his own good to realize who she is. Graham asks Ann about her "Italian" partner in the film and she admits that yes, they did it, but only once...

From then on, he is no longer a historian of pre-WW II British politics, but an obsessed sighthound: who else had Ann before she met me? He mildly questions Ann, who freely talks of former lovers, prompting Graham to further research: her other films, her books, maps and travel guides to pinpoint where and when she may have done it with others... As Graham's obsession grows, he dissembles as a man.
Can such a book, in spite of often being very funny and with engaging side characters (best friend Jack, colleague Bailey) have a happy end? Finally, could Georges Simenon's bleak psychological novel "Act of Passion" (1947) be Barnes' source of inspiration?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A curious book . Well written as you might expect but the main character , Graham , just didn't ring true . Gripped by an obsession about his wife's sexual past , he behaves more and more bizarrely . There is some mumbo jumbo quasi-scientific stuff about higher and lower brain cells to justify this weird behaviour . However it just makes the whole thing seem horribly dated . Maybe we're better able now to explain the psychological side of things . At times it felt like Fatal Attraction on steroids !
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Graham, a respected History academic at a prestigious red-brick university, leaves his sour relationship with his first wife Barbara (and his 12-year-old daughter) and moves in with Ann. Barbara - an unsympathetic character to say the least - divorces him and he marries Ann, whom he met at a party and fell in love with immediately.

Ann, an ex-actress in the cheap end of the British film industry, is now a successful Buyer for a large department chain, but things turn quickly strange as Graham conceives a burgeoning jealousy for her past love affairs. He and Ann have a good sex-life and are very much in love, but Graham cannot bear the fact that his new wife had a sex-life before she met him. His obsession with this motley collection of men quickly takes over his every spare moment as he visits obscure London cinemas where films his wife took part in are being shown.

This book is achingly, gloriously funny - but it is a one-note book. Brief, scurrilous, intensely anti-erotic and sometimes disgusting - you will laugh out loud at its protagonist, but in the end it turns out to be no laughing matter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An absolutely perfect piece of literature.

Intelligent and realistic, the reader is drawn into a complex story that deals with tricky themes.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
There's no denying that Julian Barnes's Before She Met Me is an absorbing, even compelling, account of one man's descent from jealousy into obsession and ultimately to insanity. Graham, happily and then unsatisfying married, falls for Ann, for whom he leaves his wife and daughter. With Ann, a sometime bit part actress seems to offer him the solace and companionship which Graham has just discovered that he's been lacking all these years. By then, through the offices of his bitter ex-wife, he happens to see a film featuring, albeit briefly, Ann. He becomes obsessed with her past, convulsively gathering evidence of her former liaisons and boyfriends and even passing acquaintances. But he can't leave it there: and what he imagines his wife did before she met him becomes worse that what she actually did. Sad, funny and disturbing, Barnes' prose is as always, well-measured and quite elegant. Yet there is something just a little unsatisfying about this novel. Never quite convinced that Graham's descent is totally self-driven, the reader is left wondering about the machinations of his friends and his ex-wife particularly: the questions surrounding their role are never quite resolved and yet too closely drawn to remain provocatively ambiguous. Barnes has done a lot better.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Julian Barnes’s writing is sometimes too challengingly experimentalist in style for my taste. He is one of the few writers that I have actually abandoned books by (so far two) while still holding him to be one of my favourites and as one of the very best writers of our time. So, having just given up on his “A History of The World in 10 and a half Chapters” (after just 3 chapters), it was with some apprehension that I immediately then started on his “Before She Met Me”; and what a relief and joy it was to see again why, for me, he is a true master of his art.
“Before She Met Me” tells the story of Graham, a university lecturer in London whom we meet at the age of 38. He is 15 years married, conventional, totally faithful to his wife, mild of manner, and nonthreatening in any way. Then he meets Ann (31), rediscovers sex and love, and his life changes. He leaves his wife, Barbara, marries Ann, and begins an idyllic rebirth which lasts a few years. But Ann was single and 31 when they met, so she had had some experience before she met Graham. She had had quite a few affairs actually, although no more than any of us might consider reasonable – after all, she was beautiful, single and young. Graham was aware, without having discussed it in any depth with her, that he wasn't the first person she had been to bed with. And he didn't mind. Why would he? That was all in the past; indeed it was “Before She Met Me”.
By an ingenious and petty manoeuvre by his ex-wife, Graham becomes more aware of Ann’s past. And it starts to bug him. An irrational jealousy about past liaisons begins to grow in him. It begins to take over his life.
How this all plays out Julian Barnes relates with awe-inducing dexterity. This is a tale of love, jealousy, obsession and revenge as powerful as any we will ever read told in a very accessible and often very amusing style.
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