Levels of life by Julian Barnes – A Book review

He is one of my if not the favorite author. I discovered his works only after his book “Sense of ending” won the Booker prize last year. Since then, I’ve read the following works of his,

Flaubert’s parrot

A History of the world in 10.5 Chapters

Arthur and George.

“Sense of ending” remained the favorite though I enjoyed each of his works even though I had no idea of who Flaubert was before reading the book and, it was wonderful to read through with Arthur being the character than the writer. (Yes, it is about Arthur Conan Doyle), In the ‘history’ book, I could see him thoroughly enjoying his writing. It was a great read. However, I never felt the need to displace “Sense of ending” as my favorite book. But, this “Levels of life” is on par with it.

levels of life

Plot: The book is divided into three parts or three levels, one up in the air, one on the ground and one underneath.. The literal and the figurative merge and diverge as if like we are in warp. The common theme is about love and obviously grief. This work is he himself getting in terms with grief over his wife’s death

Style: The styles in three sections of the book are vividly different. The captivating effect each section has is the talent of an experienced writer. He knew what he wanted to say and convey, he was patient, bringing his best or the fulcrum of the book only in the third part. So, the book is pretty much two-part prologue and one part mainstay. The novel is pretty short. The author is nowadays in a knack of packing the punch in smaller plots. That is all is required by this proficient writer.


Verdict: If you want to read about grief, look no further. It doesn’t give you grief, nor does it give you an aftertaste, like an age-old wine. It just slides and gets swallowed. You know it is worth it.


Quotable Quote:“The thing is — nature is so exact, it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way one relishes the pain, I think. If it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t matter.”


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