The Only Story

ebook A Novel

By Julian Barnes

cover image of The Only Story

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From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending, an achingly profound love story between a young man on the cusp of adulthood and a woman whose life is gradually moving in the opposite direction.
Most of us have only one story to tell. I don't mean that only one thing happens to us in our lives: there are countless events, which we turn into countless stories. But there's only one that matters, only one finally worth telling. This is mine.
It is the early 1960s, in a staid suburb fifteen miles south of London. Paul, home from university for the holidays, is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. At the mixed doubles tournament he is partnered with Mrs. Susan Macleod: she's more than twice his age, and the married mother of two nearly grown-up daughters. Soon Paul and Susan embark on an unconventional affair, despite the disapproval of Paul's parents and the seething resentment of Susan's husband.
First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at nineteen. But as he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.
Wryly observant and devastatingly tender, The Only Story is a profound, contemplative novel by one of fiction's greatest mappers of the human heart.
The Only Story