Knopf, Feb 2001, 23.00, 224 pp.
Although married and proud of his wife, the successful businessman Stuart never forgot the betrayal in which his witty friend Oliver stole his wife Gillian. Over the past few years, Oliver and Gillian seem to have forged a happy life together while Stuart, though successful, never found happiness. Oliver and Gillian have had children and shockingly he is a good father.
However, that does not stop the "partially Americanized" upper crust Englishman Stuart from obsessing over paradise lost and his plan to regain paradise. Stuart covets Gillian and he will be as methodically successful with regaining her as he has been with the organic food distribution business. The cost to others no longer matters.
LOVE, ETC., the sequel to TALKING IT OVER, is a strange relationship tale because the characters (including support players) talk in asides to the reader and not to each other. Thus the entertaining and often humorous (especially when Oliver provides a soliloquy) story reads more like a play than a novel. Julian Barnes invites the audience to come inside the heads of the cast to see varying perspectives on the same events. This ingenious book is for those fans of relationship dramas that like their literature a bit different as Mr. Barnes shows why he is so amusingly good.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner