The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes
Stories

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Synopsis

In his widely acclaimed new collection of stories, Julian Barnes addresses what is perhaps the most poignant aspect of the human condition: growing old.

The characters in The Lemon Table are facing the ends of their lives–some with bitter regret, others with resignation, and others still with defiant rage. Their circumstances are just as varied as their responses. In 19th-century Sweden, three brief conversations provide the basis for a lifetime of longing. In today’s England, a retired army major heads into the city for his regimental dinner–and his annual appointment with a professional lady named Babs. Somewhere nearby, a devoted wife calms (or perhaps torments) her ailing husband by reading him recipes.
In stories brimming with life and our desire to hang on to it one way or another, Barnes proves himself by turns wise, funny, clever, and profound–a writer of astonishing powers of empathy and invention.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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 December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Lemon Table

Kirkus Reviews

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The approaching death of a great modern composer—on personal terms with Stravinsky and Ralph Vaughn Williams—is every bit as incisive, observant, and moving in its way (“The Silence”) as is the tale of long-ago Sweden and a 23-year love affair that goes unconsummated, unrecognized, and, in the en...

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The Guardian

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Julian looked at himself in the mirror with distaste.

Mar 15 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

The Guardian

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whether the heart drags in sex, or sex drags in the heart.' Barnes once wrote: 'I am a writer for an accumulation of lesser reasons (love of words, fear of death, hope of fame, delight in creation, distaste for office hours) and for one presiding major reason: because I believe that the best ar...

Mar 14 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

The Guardian

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The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes 218pp, Cape, £16.99 Julian Barnes has many interests - France, French, the French;

Mar 13 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

Publishers Weekly

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and Talking It Over , may be nonplussed by the Dinesen-like sonority of the prose in "The Story of Mats Israelson" ("When Havlar Berggren succumbed to akvavit, frivolity and atheism, and transferred ownership of the third stall to an itinerant knife-grinder, it was on Berggren, not the knife-grin...

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Entertainment Weekly

Sex, old age, and death haunt these chilly tales by eccentric virtuoso Barnes.

Jul 09 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

Deseret News

A good short story can be enjoyed quickly — sitting in a waiting room, on a short plane trip, riding TRAX.

Jul 18 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

People

Barnes describes the realities of aging with precision and a knack for matching narrative device to psychological reality: Three haircuts over a lifetime mark the transit of one man's vanity and self-confidence, and the inner monologue of a cantankerous concertgoer obsessed by coughing and candy ...

Aug 09 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Barnes’ wonderful tangentiality is shown nowhere more clearly than in my favorite of these tales, “The Story of Mats Israelson.” The irony is that the title story — about a real copper miner in Falun, Sweden, killed in a accident in 1677, whose petrified body turned up 40 years later — is never a...

May 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

London Review of Books

Many of his characters are pensioners, and everyone whose childhood is described in detail – as in England, England (1998) or Staring at the Sun (1986) – is last encountered in serene old age.

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Alibi

"I lie awake," quips a character in Julian Barnes' new story collection, The Lemon Table, "and think of the advantages of dying.

Aug 26 2004 | Read Full Review of The Lemon Table: Stories

Reader Rating for The Lemon Table
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