❰PDF / Epub❯ ☁ The Lemon Table Author Julian Barnes – Dolove.info
Julian Barnes makes me feel smarter My mind fractures, in a good way, and I see familiar things in new light, unfiltered and layered I have to remind myself I m not British The Lemon Table takes eleven stabs at the meaning of growing old I read this now, at a time when I am asked to enter senior events at the golf club and am offered a discount on breakfast out I accept the former and decline the latter I still have some pride Topics change I hearof knee replacements, Florida in winter, bowel movements less of scandal, lived Blues, dreams I don t remember it ever being this windy Last night I saw a friend s father at a party, sitting in a corner chair I went to say hello With a trained reflex, he pretended to know me It s been so long I was told he d have no clue Later, I went to say goodbye He looked scared now His hand shot to his head, helpless against the silence of his mind I wondered, driving home, if regrets were erased along with the names Or do they linger till the end You don t have to have read Madame Bovary to read and love Flaubert s Parrot and you don t have to have read Flaubert s Parrot in order to read and love Knowing French, one of the stories here I like to think that it s based on some real event, that some 81 year old woman started writing to Barnes and that he wrote back and that at some point she asked him, Do you swear as much as your characters, I should like to know I should like to think that really happened, if just that much, and Barnes needed to wrap a story around it This is masterful writing Some of Barnes best Such as this One feeling at least grows stronger in me with each year that passes a longing to see the cranes At this time of year I stand on a hill and watch the sky Today they did not come There were only wild geese Geese would be beautiful if cranes did not exist.That s music, melody It s an old man, weighing his success and his failure What might have been Waiting for The Silence.You can read the rest of that one here Julian Barnes has become one of my favorite authors I have now read 3 of his books, The Sense of an Ending which was a brilliant novel The Pedant in the Kitchen , a very funny book of essays about cooking and reading recipes and now this one, a book of short stories.The stories in this collection have aging as their main theme I did a little math and figure that Barnes must have been around 58 or 59 when he wrote them, hardly old enough to be so astute about elderly concerns and feelings, but he pulled it off Some of the characters are aging gracefully, others not so much Julian Barnes has a very wry sense of humor that sometimes catches you by surprise, and at other times makes you laugh out loud, the whole time knowing that what you just read is sad beyond words I love his sarcasm, his way of getting into the characters skin Luckily for me, he s been very prolific in his career, so I have a lotof his books to read. A disparate collection of short stories, connected by considerations of ageing, though the settings geographical and historical and style vary considerably The other common themes are secrecy, lies and self delusion Some contrast different life stages, whereas others focus on someone already getting on It s not exactly uplifting, but it s not gloomy either.Why this, why now My book acquisition is largely accidental, or rather, I browse second hand bookshops for authors that I want to read, books I ve heard of, or titles that catch my eye Having bought a book, it might be days, weeks or years until I read it, triggered by a mix of what I ve just read whether I want something similar or contrasting and what I ve seen here on GR.When I came across this book, I had read a recent Barnes that I loved The Sense of An Ending, reviewed here and a very early one that showed promise, but was not great Staring at the Sun, reviewed here However, the fact I picked this, when short stories are not my usual fare, rather than one of several of his novels at the same stall, was perhaps a subconscious acknowledgement of my looming half century Turning 30 and 40 meant nothing much, but much as I hate to admit it, I think 50 may feel a bit different These stories areabout old age than middle age, but they chimed somewhat for me A Short History of HairdressingThe stages of a contemporary British boy man s life, encapsulated in his different experiences and thoughts about having his hair cut It s subtle and poignant, and the thoughts of the child are particularly convincing, such as musing that Things you didn t know about, or weren t meant to know about, usually turned out to be rude.On the cusp of puberty, he makes his first solo trip to the barber He is scared of perverts, and, to some extent, the barber He didn t like not being allowed to be afraid in contrast to the dentist and is anxious because you were never sure of the rules , even though he s confident that boys aren t expected to tip He s also worried about being electrocuted by the clippers, but is reassured when he notices the barber s rubber shoes He submitted to the cold smoothness of the scissors always cold even when they weren t As a young adult, Gregory s anxieties are different He still doesn t tip, but now it s because He thought it a reinforcement of the deferential society Rather than thinking the barber s pole rude , he s fully aware of the history of surgeon barbers When he accedes to buy something for the weekend , he is complicit at last with the hairdresser.As an old man, He still couldn t slide easily into the posture , but He could do this stuff, customer banter It had only taken him 25 years to get the right tone view spoiler He is relaxed and prepared for tipping and finally has the confidence to decline to see the rear view of his haircut hide spoiler The point, Mr Novelist Barnes, is that Knowing French is different from Grammer, sic and that this applies to all aspects of life. I am certain of one thing, that when you are thirty or forty you may be very good at Grammer, but by the time you get to be deaf or mad you also need to know French.Mr Novelist Barnes Knows French A revisit to some of my favourite stories in this collection gives an inkling of how Mr Barnes weaves his sorcerer s spells There is an astounding economy to his writing within a paragraph which, on the surface, treats of wooden horse stalls outside a church, he has conveyed to us setting, time, background, and the structure of society that is essential to the story he will tell Well, OK, two paragraphs But it is a marvel nonetheless So much said with so few words.The other thing that intrigues and brings me back to examine again is the warmth and compassion he shows to even the most unpleasant of characters He does thisthan once sets us up to dislike the Major, for instance, Hygiene with his supercilious you should just get out, woman , his irritating as per and his tasks bloody list and his quaint idea that a postcard of a ceremonial sword in its scabbard is subtle , ha Delusional, this man Yes, but so human in his self deception, it s what we all do,or less, hold on desperately to our last scraps of self respect, our sagging belief that we haven t changed, not so very much, since we were febrile and juicy, even if we now qualify for a senior citizen s railcard Or Janice and Merrill, two widows in The Things You Know, scoring mental points off each other, begrudging, critical women, struggling to have one over on the other, but oh so careful of each other s blinkered view of her husband Refusing to commit the final betrayal, the puncturing of illusionsTom was wonderful, said Merrill It was a love matchThe campus groper, Tom But Janice manages to keep down the aggression that rises within her like a burp English ladies do not burp The puncturing of illusions a theme that runs through these stories of maturity How we hold on to that sweetness, treasure it, husband it as succour for our later years We change We do not change Take the rules of grammar and turn them into French. In His Widely Acclaimed New Collection Of Stories, Julian Barnes Addresses What Is Perhaps The Most Poignant Aspect Of The Human Condition Growing Old The Characters In The Lemon Table Are Facing The Ends Of Their Lives Some With Bitter Regret, Others With Resignation, And Others Still With Defiant Rage Their Circumstances Are Just As Varied As Their Responses In Th Century Sweden, Three Brief Conversations Provide The Basis For A Lifetime Of Longing In Today S England, A Retired Army Major Heads Into The City For His Regimental Dinner And His Annual Appointment With A Professional Lady Named Babs Somewhere Nearby, A Devoted Wife Calms Or Perhaps Torments Her Ailing Husband By Reading Him Recipes In Stories Brimming With Life And Our Desire To Hang On To It One Way Or Another, Barnes Proves Himself By Turns Wise, Funny, Clever, And Profound A Writer Of Astonishing Powers Of Empathy And Invention This is my introduction to Julian Barnes s short stories and I was delighted, overall, with the presentation A few of the stories left me a little less than impressed, but as a sum it was much greater than all its parts I am teetering on the edge of being a great fan It wouldn t take much A Short History of Hairdressing 3 starsA creepy, self obsessed, neurotic child turns into a creepy, self obsessed, neurotic man I didn t much care for any iterations, with their disturbing little thoughts, but can concede that Barnes has captured that sort rather well So the dilemma is do I rate this on the story, or the writer Let s split the difference, and say 3 stars I wouldn t read an entire novel of his, for instance, on this repellent little rotter would have abandoned it 50 pages in because it would have depressed me to the core not to mention I would have needed a series of showers to get rid of the stink The Story of Mats Israelson 3 stars Gossip about gossip is a good way to sum this one up, and Barnes does it beautifully, but once again, I found myself not caring a whit for these less than likeable characters These are wasted lives predicated on the inability to follow through, with honesty, on anything in life The Things You Know 3 starsTwo little old ladies allies, rather than friends, Barnes suggests I would suggest that they are neither They are merely acquaintances with personal agendas Allies suggests that there is support, in time of need neither of these old biddies strikes me as being that way More, they strike me as people who will be there for you, if and when the situation suits or meets their own personal agenda at the time Their monthly meetings suggested to me they were no better off than if they had stayed at home, talking into the mirror Hygiene 4 starsA retired soldier has been stepping out on his wife for years, with another woman This is a nice spin on an old, oft told tale, with some keen insights into the constructs of love and desire The Revival 5 stars What is real, and what is not, in love Is the imagination bigger and better than reality What does it matter in the end does it matter if love is fictional If one gets the same fulfillment from a perceived emotion, is it any less valid A beautiful story Vigilance 4 stars What is bad behaviour And who defines it A nice spin on the niceties of nice society Bark 3 stars What is the reason for living if it is only to outlive others A bizarre tale of meaningless revenge I could not connect to these people in any way, nor understand them They were small minded and absurd.Knowing French 5 stars at least A lovely, funny, sad, heartwarming tale the ultimate in elderly fangirling Too precious, delightful for words Appetite 3 starsBlech A spouse reads a series of cookbooks to her hubby who has dementia, in the hope of triggering his memories All it seems to do is trigger his past perverted sexual urges Is that all that s left in the end The nature of his recalled memories suggests it wasn t the healthiest of sex lives, and therefore not the healthiest of relationships.The Fruit Cage 5 starsAn abused spouse puts up with his harpie of a wife for years, until he leaves her but a little too late Sad, poignant, disturbing, heartbreaking.The Silence 3 stars My music is molten ice Yes So is this story Silence would have been preferable Thanks to both Netta and Ilse for recommending this one Cheer up Death is round the corner Julian BarnesThe quotation pretty much sums up The Lemon Table both in its content and tone Published in 2004, it is a collection of eleven stories on aging and dying Julian Barnes allegedly once wrote I am a writer forone presiding major reason because I believe that the best art tells the most truth about life This belief finds expression in The Lemon Table Because the truth is bitter, the stories are very hard to read.Yet Barnes is a master of his craft The difficult subject matter is rendered palatable by his wry sense of humor The stories are by turn cruel, scornful, and at times funny Realism is served with teaspoons of wit, thus some stories go down really well with me The stories are about loss and regret that come with aging The characters are confronted with the loss of health, sanity, virility, independence, and control In Knowing French , the 81 year old ward of an old folks home laments, We disburse our lifetime s savings in order to hand over control of our lives It is sobering to contemplate a time in life when the fizz has gone out, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak , and one can no longer play as energetically as before e.g., Hygiene Worse than this is the renunciation of the things that give life its sparkle This is borne out painfully in The Revival that carries some of the saddest and grimmest observations of love A 60 year old writer supposedly Turgenev who has never succeeded in love falls in love with a 25 year old actress However, he believes that..every love, happy as well as unhappy, is a real disaster when you give yourself over to it entirely Therefore, his basis of life, perhaps owing to his past failures, is renunciation He holds this last love at arms length and nurtures it as a dream journey I re read this story closely and the second time round, I hear the author s voice It is mocking, coarse, and even crude It pokes fun at the old man s renunciation But my sympathy lies with the old gentleman who has taken pains to avoid folly and to preserve a modicum of dignity In these stories, the dependency of the elderly is fleshed out clearly in several stories In The Things You Know , two elderly widows put up a pretense of mutual support because in old age as in childhood, you needed allies again, people to see you through to the end The other thing that strikes me is how aging takes its toll gravely on the family members of the elderly In Appetite , a long suffering wife reads cookbook recipes to her food loving husband who has dementia and flinches each time he hurls vulgarities at her In The Fruit Cage , I feel sorry for the grown up son who has to ride the domestic storm when his 80 year old father leaves his mother for a woman in her 60s This is a depressing story of children having to parent their parents However, there are gains that are exclusive privileges of getting older In A Short History of Hairdressing , Gregory who has always been socially awkward recognizes that social apprehensions were now long gone The small triumphs of maturity In The Silence , an elderly composer bemoaning the Eighth Symphony that is likely to remain unfinished reflects on his self assured frame of mind When I was a young man, I was hurt by criticism Now, when I am melancholy, I reread unpleasant words and am immensely cheered up This is gain There are two stories I have particularly enjoyed Vigilance and Knowing French Vigilance This is a hilarious story about a 62 year old aficionado of classical music who is ultra sensitive to concert goers misbehaving at a classical concert He takes great offence when his attention to and enjoyment of the music is distracted by coughing fits or even mere turning of the concert program His extreme measures to take offenders to task are shocking But I understand perfectly the annoyance when a beautiful performance is ruined by inconsiderate behavior I wish I had the guts to do what he did Wickedly satisfying Knowing French This is a collection of witty correspondence between Julian Barnes and a woman in her 80s formerly a bluestocking living in an Old Folks Home She is making the most of her time in a home where fellow old folks are either mad or deaf There is an irrepressible cheekiness I find refreshing I like the word she coins for immense letter writing epistolomania The deafs and mads here are constantly afraid of Being a Nuisance The only way of making sure you are not Being a Nuisance is to be in your coffin, so I intend to go on Being A Nuisance as a way of keeping alive I find myself laughing and feeling sad at the same time Pathos is most powerfully expressed in humor The Lemon Table is not for everyone and not recommended when one is feeling sad and vulnerable But it is a collection of stories worth reading at some point PSThe title of this collection of stories draws its symbolism from the lemon The composer in The Silence explains that, for the Chinese, the lemon is the symbol of death, so that his local caf table where he gathers with friends to discuss mortality becomes the lemon table However, to the best of my knowledge, the lemon does not symbolize death in the Chinese culture Nevertheless, as a title, The Lemon Table still encapsulates the communion of bitterness that can threaten to define the last phase of life. These are a fantastic group of stories, each one centered in some way on the theme of aging and dying, though they are neither depressing nor sentimental Each story s characters are living, breathing people with his or her own voice and Barnes does achieve a unique voice for each story Two of the narrators were actual living, breathing people a famous 19th century Russian writer and a famous modern composer The stories are not only extremely well written, but highly inventive, and one story in particular broke my heart Barnes is brilliant. to jeetrunovina Nemam pojma A ne zna ni Google, jedina referenca je na ovu knjigu Ova zbirka kratkih pri a se u originalu zove The Lemon Table, pa otkud onda ta etrunovina Julian Barnes je cijenjen i popularan autor, itao sam od njega nekoliko romana, a Engleska, Engleska mi je ostao u sje anju kao odli an roman sa zanimljivom i originalnom pri om, iako se danas vi e ne mogu sjetiti nijedne pojedinosti iz njega U zadnjem pohodu u knji nicu sam uzeo ovaj Stol od etrunovine, jer sam htio provjeriti kako Barnes pi e, ova je bila najtanja, pa ako mi se svidi posudio bih ponovno i Engleska, Engleska Nisam znao da je ovo zbirka kratkih pri a dok nisam po eo itati.Iako ovo to je Barnes ovdje napisao ne bih nazvao pri ama, vi e nedovr enim skicama od kojih bi se mo da uz malo truda mogle razviti i neke pri e Svaka ima neku poruku i sadr i autorova promi ljanja o ivotu i smrti, odnosno o neizbje noj prolaznosti ivota i starenju No sve je to tako prozirno i pojednostavljeno Tu su i fraze poput ivot je tek preuranjena reakcija na smrt i sli ne Sve bi to bilo ok da je to pozadina, odnosno da pri e pri aju o ne emu Jedina koju bi istaknuo je prva Kratka povijest frizerskog zanata, koja na zabavan na in opisuje kako su se brija i i brija nice relativno brzo pretvorili u frizere i frizerske salone No, tako er i ona bi bolje fukcionirala kao esej, jer kao i ostale ima samo privid radnje Uz sve napisano ocjena ipak nije jedinica, jer i sa ovako nedovr enim pri ama Barnes uspjeva stvoriti neke zanimljive slike. If you want a well done critique with synopses of each story, read Cecily s review.Mea culpaMy reading time was fractured I was constantly interrupted by work and then for several days I peered at the damned Kindle with its quirky formatting through blocked sinuses that made me feel stupid and sometimes a little insane Also, this was my first Julian Barnes book, so I did not understand his references to his other books, and I am Amerkin, not British, so ditto re the Britishisms Given my pathetic attention, clogged brain, and lack of erudition, it is a testament to Mr Barnes that I still think he s a very good writer plus which, lots of other smart Goodreaders have said he is, and, despite my wretched state, I know enough not to make waves from the bottom of a viscous sea.The stories are all about getting older The titular lemon is a symbol of death explained in the final story All are moving, honest, funny, saucy, and sophisticated In a story called Hygiene a man is up on a ladder to clean the roof gutter as he s done for 25 yearsas he stood there, all protected, Wellington boots on his feet, windcheater around him, woolly cap on his head and rubber gloves on his hands, he would sometimes feel the tears begin and he knew it wasn t because of the wind, and then he d get stuck, one rubber hand clamped to the guttering, the other one pretending to poke in the curve of thick plastic, and he d be scared fartless Of the whole damn thing That just about says it all.