Julian Barnes's 'Levels Of Life': The Book We're Talking About
Huffington Post - over 3 years
"Levels of Life" by Julian Barnes
Published September 24th, 2013 What is it about?
Barnes's book about the grief he experienced after his wife, Pat Kavanagh, died suddenly of a brain tumor, is divided into three sections: "The Sin of Height," "On the Level," and "The Loss of Depth." Though each focuses on seemingly separate subjects--ballooning and photography in the 1800s, a fictionalized romance between historical figures, and Barnes's reflection on his personal loss--they come together almost chorally. The whimsical fabulations of the book's first half elevate the reader with feelings of love and discovery, so that the descriptions of mourning in the second feel immediate and real. Why are we talking about it?
Barnes approaches memoir, a genre that too often errs on the side of sentimental, with complete grace. As with "The Sense of an Ending," he requires very few pages, and only a few moving details (such as his description of rubbing oil on his late wife's grav
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