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Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

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A short book in 3 parts reflecting on life, ambition and loss, and it is the last chapter on loss- of his wife, Pat Kavanagh that exposes the raw pain of the loss of a partner of 30 years. 30 years of passion and friendship gone, made so much worse by the fact they had just over a month from diagnosis to death. Levels of Life is often painful to read but as a distillation of love and loss it’s a masterpiece.

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Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

'You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed...' Julian Barnes' new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded him the 2011 Man Booker Prize described him as 'an unparalleled magus of the heart'. This book confirms that opinion.


It is extraordinary... [It] would seem to pull off the impossible: to recreate, on the page, what it is like to be alive in the world. -- Emma Brockes Guardian

This is 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

It's an unrestrained, affecting piece of writing, raw and honest and more truthful for its dignity and artistry... Anyone who has loved and suffered loss, or just suffered, should read this book, and re-read it, and re-read it. -- Martin Fletcher Independent

About the Author

Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes is the author of eleven novels, including The Sense of an Ending, Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters and Arthur & George; three books of short stories, Cross Channel, The Lemon Table and Pulse; and also three collections of journalism, Letters from London, Something to Declare, and The Pedant in the Kitchen.

His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert's Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2004, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011. He lives in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st April 2014


Julian Barnes

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Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing


128 pages


Biography / Autobiography
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Autobiography: literary



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