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Love, etc. Paperback – June 11, 2002
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In Love, Etc. Barnes adopts the same technique he used in the earlier installment, allowing his characters to speak their innermost thoughts and secrets directly to the reader--and just about everybody gets some good lines. (Oliver: "Yes, everything went swimmingly, which is a very peculiar adverb to apply to a social event, considering how most human beings swim.") But the book is also a bewitchingly intimate excursion into betrayal and jealousy. With painstaking detail, Barnes creates a vibrant portrait of a modern love triangle--as funny as it is cruel, as absurd as it is deep. Few contemporary writers can portray Middle England, with all its temptations, so darkly. --Matthew Baylis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Odd, inventive, and wickedly funny, Julian Barnes is known for his intricate and often satirical books on literature and culture. Visit Amazon's Julian Barnes Page.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Barnes could have taken the road already successfully traveled and just recycled the same primary characters of the first book. They were all very well done, and the resulting second work would have been good as well. However 10 years is a long time, and just as his characters have changed and become more complex through experience, I believe Mr. Barnes probably spent a good deal of time bringing not just the next installment of these lives to us, but raising the level of his writing, and greatly expanding the number of players. Some new voices are only cameos, others as integral to the plot as the original trio of Stuart, Gillian, and Oliver.
I may be in the minority, but I did not see the original work as being unfinished. Many books could have additional chapters or sequels, and the first was not any type of cliffhanger. That said this continuation is excellent, and I hope he does not wait another decade to expand this to a triptych.
Without spoiling anything, Stuart has progressed, Oliver has become too clever for even himself, and Gillian is Gillian albeit a bit more of an enigma that serial marrier as in the first book. This piece is certainly darker than the first; some may even find it violent. However as with the first work the events that unwind are shared with the reader by those involved, so the accounts must be weighed.Read more ›
However, that does not stop the "partially Americanized" upper crust Englishman Stuart from obsessing over paradise lost and his plan to regain paradise. Stuart covets Gillian and he will be as methodically successful with regaining her as he has been with the organic food distribution business. The cost to others no longer matters.
LOVE, ETC., the sequel to TALKING IT OVER, is a strange relationship tale because the characters (including support players) talk in asides to the reader and not to each other. Thus the entertaining and often humorous (especially when Oliver provides a soliloquy) story reads more like a play than a novel. Julian Barnes invites the audience to come inside the heads of the cast to see varying perspectives on the same events. This ingenious book is for those fans of relationship dramas that like their literature a bit different as Mr. Barnes shows why he is so amusingly good.
"Love Etc", for me, was a literary drug as addictive as his previous works, though I was left with a greater sense of sadness than I have felt when reading past Barnes' masterpieces. Perhaps it is my memory playing tricks on me, but it seems that the ten years that passed between this work and "Talking it Over" in the lives of both the characters and Mr. Barnes himself, have paid a toll. The work starts with the same ironic and captivating humour of the past, but as it unfolds, the sadness of reality overwhelms the humour. The general lack of optimism left me feeling very numb at times. Whilst captivating, and easy to read because it is in dialogue form; a slightly bitter accuracy of the character portrayal makes it painful to digest the work at times.
This is not to say that the overall impression created by this novel is any less intelligent, measured or fascinating than former works of Barnes. "Love Etc" is a fabulous and thought-provoking reflection of many marriages and friendships through these well-developed, now matured characters whom we met ten years before in "Talking it Over".
Given the high standards of the best of Barnes's fiction his readership have certain expectations that if not met lead to great disappointment. Julian Barnes' last novel, England, England was one such disappointment. A heavy handed satire, toying with notions of nationality and nationhood, it somehow found its way onto the Booker Prize shortlist (perhaps saying more about the paucity of modern British fiction and the quality of the judging panel than the quality of the novel). It is disappointing to note that the novel under review, Love etc, is not a return to form.
Love etc is a belated sequel to Talking it over (1991), and was the name of a French film adapted from Talking it over in 1997. Talking it over itself seemed to stem from the half chapter in a History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters - an essay on the meaning of love. Taliking it over had three principal characters, Stuart - the quiet boring one; Oliver - the flamboyant pretentious one; and Gillian - the sensible one. The three characters were caught in a love triangle.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Julian Barnes is undoubtedly, to my mind, the King of social commentary. Extremely intelligent, with a skill – I am referring to the way he uses the English language – that is... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sergiu Pobereznic (author)
I really enjoy his work. This book is a sequel to 'Talking it Over' which was also a great read.Published 10 months ago by Love to Read
All I could think when I was reading Love Etc. by Julian Barnes was the Rashomon effect. Here we have three friends, Oliver, Stuart, and Gillian, in a classic love triangle. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Genevieve D.
I like JB writing style. However, this story is different from what I had expected.Published 20 months ago by Omega
Thought I had read the all but I guess not. Early great wit and writing. More recent works are better but not as much fun,.Published on April 24, 2014 by cosmo
This is a very clever sequel to "Talking it over" and if you have not read that book, you should do so before reading this one. Read morePublished on January 12, 2014 by marifa
I picked up Love, Etc. after seeing it appear on one of the earlier NY Times Notable Books lists. I had read The Sense of An Ending and Loved it but had not read anything else by... Read morePublished on September 29, 2013 by Joseph Landes
Confusing and boring, pretentious and dull. At first it is not clear who is who, but after a while you do not even care about it any longer.Published on September 21, 2013 by Anna Galasso