Am höchsten bewertete positive Rezension
Rich drama about male jealousy
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?