“Heartbreaking. . . . It’s a cliché to say the love is inexplicable, but the strength of The Only Story is Barnes’s willingness to explore the nature of that inexplicability, how it makes for honeymoons and tragedies alike.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This is a story about spring/autumn love. Paul Casey is 19 years old , just out of high school and helps teach tennis at the local tennis club. Susan MacLeod is 48 years old, married with two daughters around Pauls age, and very beautiful.
When the two are paired up in doubles tennis they become friends pretty quickly. Susan’s husband is a golf man and seldom around. Eventually they fall in love with each other, and most of the book deals directly with their relationship.
Paul being young doesn’t really have a sorry conscience about it, has little money, and doesn’t seem to realize that this could be a problem for him. Susan will bear the emotional and financial weight of the relationship, which will end up taking its toll open her well being.
As their relationship will be a long one, we will see them slowly deteriorate over time, and will follow how both individuals deal with the resulting consequences of their lives together.
The last part of the book, which I felt was the slowest part, involves Paul searching his soul with his analysis about what has gone on in their lives together.
While not in the class of Sense of an Ending, Barnes character study of Paul and Susan is right on, showing how both deal with the relationship in totally different ways.
A quick read at 254 pages, it is well worth checking out.
Added 15th August 2018