Join moderator Kathy Schultenover for a discussion of Julian Barnes’ book The Only Story. Parnassus Book Club meetings are free and open to anyone. Buy the book, read the book and join the discussion.
One summer in the sixties, in a staid suburb south of London, nineteen-year-old Paul comes home from university and is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. There he’s partnered with Susan Macleod, a fine player who’s forty-eight, confident, witty, and married, with two nearly adult daughters. She is a warm companion, her bond with Paul immediate. And soon, inevitably, they are lovers.
Basking in the glow of each other, they set up house together in London. Decades later, Paul looks back at how they fell in love and how-gradually, relentlessly - everything fell apart. As he turns over his story in his mind, examining it from different vantage points, he finds himself confronted with the contradictions and slips of his own memory-and the ways in which our narratives and our lives shape one another. Poignant, vivid, and profound, The Only Story is a searing novel of memory, devotion, and how first love fixes a life forever.