Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

81%

9 Critic Reviews

“Levels of Life” shows that Barnes still loves and longs, five years after his wife’s death. The proof is there even before we start reading: the book’s dedication, as with all of those that preceded it, says, “For Pat.”
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Julian Barnes, author of the Man Booker Prize–winning novel The Sense of an Ending, gives us his most powerfully moving book yet, beginning in the nineteenth century and leading seamlessly into an entirely personal account of loss—making Levels of Life an immediate classic on the subject of grief.
 
Levels of Life is a book about ballooning, photography, love and loss; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded Barnes the 2011 Booker Prize described him as “an unparalleled magus of the heart.” This book confirms that opinion.
 
“Spare and beautiful...a book of rare intimacy and honesty about love and grief.  To read it is a privilege.  To have written it is astonishing.” —Ruth Scurr, The Times of London

“A remarkable narrative that is as raw in its emotion as it is characteristically elegant in its execution.”  —Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times


This ebook edition includes a reading group guide.  

 

About Julian Barnes

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Julian Barnes's honors include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He lives in London. www.julianbarnes.com
 
Published September 24, 2013 by Vintage. 129 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Self Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Levels of Life
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jul 07 2013

A book about the death of a spouse that is unlike any other—book or spouse—and thus illuminates the singularity as well as the commonality of grieving.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Manguso on Sep 20 2013

His articulation of his anguish is well served by his leeriness, as the book’s last section is one of the least indulgent accounts of mourning I have ever read.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Blake Morrison on Apr 10 2013

...Levels of Life...is a book that levels with us only up to a point. Its resonance comes from all it doesn't say, as well as what it does; from the depth of love we infer from the desert of grief.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Peter Conrad on Apr 06 2013

The combination of forms and styles, slipping to and fro between airy fantasy and the grim immitigable facts of disease and death, really shouldn't work – but it does, thanks to Barnes's deft emotional insight and his verbal legerdemain.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by A. J. Kirby on Dec 31 2013

I find it astounding that he never loses control of the narrative, despite his grief. He builds a pattern, a different, more realistic “7 stages of grief” which we can all relate to, no matter how far removed.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Sep 26 2013

...Levels of Life takes flight with its third, autobiographical section, "The Loss of Depth." After a vigil that lasted just "thirty-seven days from diagnosis to death," Barnes crash-landed into widowerhood. Normally so crisp and circumspect, Barnes writes movingly...

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Peter Aspden on Apr 12 2013

Barnes brings his themes to some kind of hard-won resolution, movingly, and with improbable dialectical neatness.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Sep 21 2013

“Levels of Life” shows that Barnes still loves and longs, five years after his wife’s death. The proof is there even before we start reading: the book’s dedication, as with all of those that preceded it, says, “For Pat.”

Read Full Review of Levels of Life | See more reviews from Star Tribune

The Economist

Above average
on Apr 06 2013

The reader identifies with his loss, and appreciates his honesty, but frustratingly never understands her. Mr Barnes gives no details about his wife’s personality or their life together.

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85%

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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