- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 19 Jan. 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00562X720
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Talking It Over Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
The other sad thing was that neither of the male characters was very likeable and the so called humour was just irritating.
Julian Barnes does write well which was the one saving grace
The criticism is totally unfounded - this really is a quality book.
It is a classic menage a trois, told in the first person by all three characters. The different views of identical events is entertaining and sometimes hilarious, and the love story will be familiar to everyone.
The characters are very real and you have met all of them (or at least parts of all of them) in your real life, and this gives the book real resonance.
I have read it three times (its extremely rare for me to read any book more than once), and it is easy to open a page at random and read a few pages.
Its impossible to read this book without smiling.
I found it fascinating from start to finish. The story is contrived and the gimmick is at times cheap - one character throws in a reference to a tiny incident, then another character coincidentally reveals a different perspective of the same event - but the quality is in the insights into the characters.
Without spoilers, here are some brief comments on the three main characters. I found Stuart brilliantly drawn. He is a rich combination of strengths weaknesses. Even at the end as his character turns darker, he faces his own actions with a moving honesty.
Gillian is much less striking but interesting in a different way. I don't want to give anything away but her failure to understand her own actions contrasts wonderfully with Stuart's reflections on himself.
Oliver is the most striking character and intended, I felt, to be the tour de force that drove the novel. However, it felt to me that, in penning Oliver, Barnes was trying too hard to show off. Every single utterance by Oliver is an attempt to be clever. One in twenty contained a beautiful turn of phrase or touch of wit but the remaining nineteen were just pretentious without being clever. It is difficult to tell if Barnes was doing this deliberately as a form of self-mockery. At times he certainly is. For example, he has Oliver chide hide himself for the overuse of a certain fancy word. But his posy manner is so relentless, I couldn't but feel we were supposed to admire it and unfortunately I found it more irritating than admirable.
I read the sequel (Love etc) and found it disappointing.
If you like audio, the Audible version is wonderfully read by three top performers.
Talking it over is not one of his most complex though and is perhaps an easier read than some others. However, I found little to warm to in the three main characters. As each tells their stories, the message you are left with is "people see things differently". Hardly the most profound of arguments.
I did quite enjoy the book - it had a number of laugh out loud moments, and I felt that the style of three people telling the same story added rather than restricted the story - but ultimately I found it a bit empty at its heart.
Bound up in love, intellect and history, the well-observed characters narrate their own versions of the story, allowing room for differing perspectives and humorous, sometimes painfully intrusive insights.
Always utterly readable, Barnes's character-driven, unaffected style lends itself perfectly to this love-triangle scenario between three kindred spirits. at the same time beautifully simple and painfully complex.