Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Fitbit



There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 16 May 2014
how could the author make my adrenaline rush and how did i feel as if i was reading a thriller when i began reading a mild memoir kind of jaunty diary meandering kind of story ... incredible how the pace changed .. and there are no explosions or fire balls .. it was all in my mind .. the panic that is .. the sheer panic to find out ...
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 April 2017
This wasn't my favourite Julian Barnes. I found it moving but at the same time depressing.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 March 2016
Not one of his best but quite light and very readable.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 March 2017
This guy is a genius.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 June 2017
Excellent follow up to Love Etc.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 November 2014
Wonderful, insightful book, especially for anyone suffering bereavement.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 September 2013
I have always been a fan of Julian Barnes. I must admit that with this book I read the last section first. I wept throughout. My husband died six and a half years ago. What Barnes describes are emotions, experiences, sad, laughable, incongruous, things I went through then, feelings that still engulf me. "Entrañable" is a word in Mexico I have never been able to translate satisfactorily but which exactly describes this book. Thank you, Mr. Barnes.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 January 2015
These three short pieces slide into one another, although they are ostensibly very different. The first is factual and the second is mostly imagined, although the people are real. In them, every word is perfectly chosen and placed to make reading them an almost sensual experience. However, it is the third piece, in which Barnes writes about the death of his wife, that will stay in my memory forever. This is not an outpouring of grief, rather it is a precise dissection of it. Grief has many components and the author considers them one by one with forensic skill.

I have never known grief of this magnitude, but this book has made me understand something of what it would be like. One thing I am sure of though, is that no amount of foreknowledge would be any consolation.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 April 2014
This book is heart-warming and heartbreaking at the same time.

It's non fiction and autobiographical and is 118 pages long.

It weaves the history of hot air ballooning and the loss of author Julian Barnes' wife.

This combination may seem implausible, but somehow it works to great success.

The book is split into three sections:

1. The Sin of Height - the history of hot air ballooning. This section is very factual and unemotional. In fact I struggled to get into the book on three separate occassions because the beginning was so dry. It was worth persevering of course, as the book is exceptional and very different to anything I've ever read before.

2. On The Level - describes the personal relationship between two of the hot air balloonists from the first section.

3. The Loss of Depth - is written in the first person and solely about Julian Barnes' grief at losing his wife four years previously. It is beautifully written, very honest and in places sad, but mostly it is a testament to how much he loved her. I have never read a more accurate portrayal of bereavement, in either non fiction or fiction before. Whilst reading the last chapter, I found myself rationing the pages left to read, as I didn't want the book to end.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written, intelligent and deeply moving literature about what it is to be human.
0Comment| 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 September 2013
You wonder where this book is going shortly after you start it, what with 19th century French and British balloonist heading aloft into the unknown, unable to navigate the unpredictable winds, encountering risks (often fatal), and landing who could foretell where. But it is a fitting metaphor for Barnes' journey through the unpredictable adventure of married love into death and absence. He begins with the notion that "You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed. People may not notice at the time, but that doesn't matter. The world has been changed nonetheless."

It's all too easy to skip over that wonderful opening, for it seems so abstract. But the passage crystallizes his theme. So, it probably helpful to go back to the opening passage from time to time in reading this short but moving book. Early ballooning, its novelty, its risks (and perhaps inevitable crashes and fatality) prove to be an insightful metaphor for the married life Barnes shared and then lost with Pat Kavanagh. The final chapter on Barnes' experience of the enduring pain of loss and grief, persisting as others around him cannot understand how utterly grief still grasps him, resembles nothing else one is likely to have read in so distilled a treatment.

The book should not be missed; few authors have had the capacity to write something so personal, yet so authentic and immediate that it speaks directly to a reader. Don't be put off by the initial oddity of the extended ballooning metaphor: it is integral to Barnes' experience and purpose and seems in its way like the extended metaphors (metaphysical conceits) of John Donne and others. Barnes' prose is spare and masterful, but one would expect that of him.
0Comment| 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse


Need customer service? Click here