Levels of LIfe - Julian Barnes

Title: Levels of Life
Author: Julian Barnes
Pages: 128
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, I Love Libraries, Non-Fiction
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography, Memoir
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Part history, part fiction, part memoir,  Levels of Life  is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief.

Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth century with balloonists, photographers, and Sarah Bernhardt, whose adventures lead seamlessly into an entirely personal account of the author's own great loss.  (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I picked up this due to a suggestion on Hear...Read This! and while this book is a metaphor about the ups and downs of life (so I found out on a couple of reviews on Goodreads), I also felt the book on different levels while reading the book: from a little bored to being a little confused to being engaged with the book.  What I mean by this is that the first two sections left me "scratching my head" as to where this was going and by the end of the book, I really didn't want the book to end and wanted more of Julian Barnes' wonderful words.

There were a number of quotes from the third section that made me stop and write them down, but there were a couple that really struck me:

Grief makes your stomach turn, snatches the breath from you, cuts off the blood supply to the brain; mourning blows you in a new direction. (88)
Sometimes [grief-work] is passive, a wanting for time and pain to disappear; sometimes active, a conscious attention to death and loss and the loved one; sometimes necessarily distractive. (105)
Bottom line: If you are fan of Julian Barnes and his work, you probably will enjoy this one or even if you need a short book that that makes you think a bit.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Pages for 2014: 15,166

If you have read this book, what did you think of it?


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