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am 10. Mai 2012
This is Julian Barnes's (JB) second novel, published in 1982. It was warmly reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic. The BBC may even have considered a TV-film or mini-series, which is still a serious option. But in the age of the internet, it has become a forgotten item. Over many years it has been rarely and rather poorly reviewed, although it shares several themes with "The Sense of an Ending", which earned JB the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Well paced and written with plenty of fun, wit and shining with brilliance, this book deals a world-shy academic's fateful decline and dissembling.

Graham (38) had been married for 15 years with souring Barbara when he met Ann (31). They begin an affair. When found out, he moves in with Ann with a half-filled suitcase, leaving car- and house keys on the kitchen table, agreeing to pay off the mortgage and child support for daughter Alice.
He is a university lecturer in London, Ann a senior buyer for a major chain. They live in bliss until Barbara lures him into taking Alice to see a film in which Ann makes a brief, rather terrible appearance. When challenged, Barbara says it was for his own good to realize what kind of person she is. Graham asks Ann about her "Italian partner" in the film and she admits that yes, they did it, but only once...
From then on, he is no longer a historian of early 20th century British politics, but an obsessed sight hound: "Who else had Ann before she met me?" He mildly questions Ann, who names her former lovers, prompting Graham to more research: her other films, her books, maps and travel guides to pinpoint where and when she may have done it with others... As Graham's obsession with his brand of adultery grows, he dissembles as a man.
Can such a book, in spite of often being very funny and with engaging side characters like his farting, novelist best friend Jack, have a happy end?
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am 11. Dezember 1996
Julian Barnes is very funny - deceptively so. Beneath the veneer
of humour runs a vein of bitterness and pathos.His characters, the actions
they perform and their conversations are so lifelike that
I feel as if I'm eavesdropping.Some of their doings are shockingly
true to life.

A man leaves his wife and marries his mistress. He is totally obessed
with his new wife and when his possessive feelings are triggered by
the manipulative tricks of his ex-wife. the downward journey leads inexorably
to it's extreme conclusion.

Throughout the book, I experienced a feeling of dread. I so
much wanted him to redeem himself and the situation. Jealousy
is an all-consuming emotion and Julian Barnes captures it
perfectly.
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am 20. März 1999
On one level, we have the timeless story of man dealing with woman's past. Barnes magnificently captures a man falling into oblivion. I don't want to go too much into plot because I would be doing it an injustice. More impotrtantly, the book speaks on the blurred line between art and reality. The main character descends into that mentality where he cannot discern the real from the false. The book is a criticism on the emphasis put on art in the actual world. The language Barnes uses is terrific and I recommend it highly
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am 4. Mai 1999
Barnes's novel is yet another instance postmodern intertextuality (like A Thousand Acres, Mary Reily, Wide Sargasso Sea); here, the novel, on a subtle level, appears to revise Shakespeare's Othello in its emphasis on pathological male sexual jealousy. Here, however, the Iago is not another character, but the protagonist's own "reptile brain" that drives him to sexual obsession and violence. A fascinating and engaging but bruising book.
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am 30. Juli 1999
I loved this book. Julian Barnes guides the reader into another persons world while retaining the reality they recognise. This book concentrates on the way that jealously can ruin love. A bitter sweet story.
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am 16. Februar 2000
I thought this book was a pretty formulaic male cliche-ridden rant. Let's start with the wife who does nothing but shop. Professors in the making usually have an aversion to such idiots, and I can never believe they would have got together in the first place. Second, the girlfriend. Decides to stop being an actress because she was only so-so. I've never met an actor who didn't act because he or she was fundamentally driven to it, never met one who walked away from it this easily either. And by the way, you don't just drop out of one career and then have a mid-level, established job in a totally different and unrelated field. She would have had to start at the bottom, with its accompanying humiliations, self-doubts, etc. Girlfriend has no complexes or faults? Don't buy it. Beautiful young blond would be hopelessly in love with a fat-assed wimpy professor? Just doesn't ring true. This is very standard poor-me male stuff of the sixties, seventies, etc. There is nothing intertextual or new here.
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am 15. Juli 2000
i'm told that his latest, england, england has the same problem. the characters that barnes creates are such irritating and hateful gits that you just don't give a damn whether they live or die. 'before she met me' is the mildly nauseating tale of a self-obsessed middle-aged loser who can't live with the fact that his wife had an existence (and one or two boyfriends) before marrying him. he goes slowly mad and that's pretty much it. don't waste your time with this, mercifully short and smartly written though it is.
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