I really like Julian Barnes. He’s one of those authors – like Haruki Murakami – who I just do. We all have them, don’t we? Whether it’s Austen, Swift (Graham, in my case) or Grisham (not in my case!), it doesn’t really matter.
“The Only Story” is another super effort from Barnes. Typically low-key, happy/sad, quietly profound, well-observed – all those things you’d come to expect from him.
One of the measures of a good novel is, for me as a writer, whether I wish I’d written it myself. “The Only Story” is probably one of those books. I say probably because it’s certainly not up there in the first twenty or fifty, it may not even be in the top two-hundred, but that doesn’t stop you thinking that it would have been nice to have written it.
Does that sound paradoxical? I hope not. I’m trying to describe a comfy pair of slippers, I suppose, knowing not everyone likes slippers. Or something like that…