Read Metroland by Julian Barnes Online


Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of sexual awakening in the 1960s, and a portrait of the accommodations that some of us call "growing up" and others "selling out."...

Title : Metroland
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780679736080
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 180 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Metroland Reviews

  • Fabian
    2019-04-19 21:07

    I first discovered Julian Barnes early last year and, yup, he's pretty MAJOR. Thunderbolts radiate from his novellas, for they read masterfully, all angles are explored in radical ways--even small or hypothetical tales carry with them the intensity of a Faulkner, Waugh or Woolf. In this one, we get another adolescent angst-filled portrait. Sentences in anything by Barnes take a while to simmer... not until you finish an entire paragraph does the discerning reader stop, look at the uppermost edge of the page with something like disdain in his face, then go "Ah-huh!". The instant he gets it, his life is changed.

  • Bianca
    2019-04-09 00:47

    Metroland is Julian Barnes' first published novel. I've never heard of it, but then again, I hadn't heard of Julian Barnes himself until two years ago.I've picked this up without reading the blurb, solely based on the fact that it was written by Barnes. The only other book of his I read was Levels of Life which blew me away.Metroland is a coming of age novel of sorts. Christopher Lloyd is the main protagonist and also the narrator. Most of his ruminations are about his high school years, alongside his sidekick, Toni. When high school ends, they part ways as Christopher moves to Paris, where he finally loses his virginity at twenty-one. Fast forward to when Christopher is thirty, with a stable job, which he's surprised to enjoy, a mortgage, a wife and a child. Has Christopher become the epitome of what he and Toni used to deride. If so, is that necessarily that bad, especially when one finds himself unexpectedly happy and content. I so enjoyed this little novel. It's incredibly smart, so well written, deep, and at the same time, sardonic and sarcastic. It breathes intelligence, with a slight affectation, from the very first pages. Every sentence is perfect. As if all that weren't enough, Barnes throws in some French and some art, just to kill me. The narrator of this audiobook, Greg Wise, nailed down the voice, including the French accents. Perrrrrfection! Julian Barnes, you are one sleek writer. It's a privilege to read your words.

  • John David
    2019-04-08 20:39

    I’ve recently read, and posted reviews of two other Julian Barnes’ novels, “The Sense of an Ending” and “A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters,” both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. “Metroland” reflects some of the same themes: obnoxiousness of young schoolboys who have read a few important books but not nearly enough, growing up, love, and memory. This being my third book by Barnes, I’m starting to get a feel for his authorial panache, and I can’t help being charmed by it. You get the sense that he’s always writing with a gentle smirk on his face, not unlike the one he always has on display on the back covers of his books. The story follows the narrator Chris and his best friend from school, Toni, as they grow up in the suburbs of London (the “Metroland” of the title). They both hate ordinary people, whom they contemptuously go around calling “bourgeois.” They profess to live for art and ideas, when really it’s just a kind of self-important high-mindedness they’re putting on. Part II sees Chris moving to Paris and growing a bit distant from Toni. While there, he meets and falls in love with a French woman named Annick and befriends three fellow art-lovers, one of them a woman named Marion, on a visit to the Musee Gustave Moreau. One day, he mentions to Annick rather heavy-handedly that he met Marion (with whom he has done nothing other than casually flirt), but Annick gets upset, leaves him, and is never seen again. And here’s where Barnes’ wonderful infatuation with irony comes to a head: he falls in love with Marion, has a child with her, takes on a mortgage and respectable job that he actually enjoys, and turns into one of those hideous bourgeois that he hated as a boy. However, he’s an adult now, and he’s come to find out that living a middle-class life can be full of the same happiness, stress, joy, and anxiety that even the life of an artist can. For a rough comparison, imagine two Holden Caulfields, except that Chris actually manages to make some moral and intellectual progress and crawl out of his teenage funk during the course of the story. Toni unfortunately doesn’t, and at the end of the novel is bitter that his writing hasn’t proven more successful than it is. Being a successful human being first helps, though – a lesson that Chris learned, by hook or by crook. This novel was published in 1980, and it resembles what you would expect Barnes then: the author finding his voice, a voice that still resonates in his later fiction - philosophical but not overbearing, witty but not caustic. For a debut novel, I thought this was very impressive. I didn’t find it as wonderful as some of his later stuff – “A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters” is still my favorite of the three – but it’s definitely worth checking out if you enjoy his other work.

  • Michael
    2019-04-22 21:44

    Metroland is the first hand account of Christopher Lloyd, from growing up in the suburbs of London to the brief period after graduation in Paris and then the early years of marriage. As a child Christopher was obsessed with the idea of bourgeois lifestyle with his friend Toni. In Paris he remembers his French girlfriend Annick and now he has a mundane marriage.While this is a novel, it’s also a reflection of Christopher Lloyd’s life. As a child he has big plans as well as being obsessed with the idea of having sex. Then he finally meets Annick and has sex and has such fond memories of this relationship. Then looking at his marriage, he sees it’s not perfect and he wonders to himself is he really happy.Some people call it “growing up” and others “selling out”; this account of Christopher’s life was really interesting, his attitude and angst didn’t end and he just hasn’t let go with his old ideals. While his French girlfriend challenges his ideals and tries to explain that growing up isn’t selling out he never really gets it. It’s not until he reflects on his past that he starts to understand. Sure his marriage has its problems but he is not unhappy; he is content. But while you never find out what happens next, I got the feeling that Christopher has truly started to understand that his life is good and slowly is changing his thinking.I loved Julian Barnes’ A Sense of An Ending and I wanted to explore more of his writing. I decided to read this one because of it was short and it felt like a similar style. I really thought this book had a lot to offer, in the way of ideals, morals, relationships, love and just the way we view our lives. Looking back on our lives, it’s easy to remember the good and the bad but there is a whole lot in between we tend to forget, so when Christopher is looking at his past, he misses so much.A beautiful novel, while very short has so much in it to offer. I went and watched the movie adaption of this book as well. While it captured a lot of the books ideas, I couldn’t get past the idea of Christian Bale as Christopher Lloyd and felt it left out a lot of be beauty. Fans of Julian Barnes should check this book out. Christopher Lloyd is an interesting character; a coming of age novel but this hipster took a long time to really grow.This review originally appeared in my blog;

  • Rowan
    2019-04-12 22:49

    I have been hooked on Julian Barnes' writing for years; he has an extraordinarily accomplished style that is unmistakable even when he is at his most experimental. This is his début novel, and in some ways it is more conventional than his later work - it has none of the manipulation of form found in A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, for instance, or the surreal plot twists of England, England. But in its own way it is quite an unusual novel - one in which nothing really happens; events which you think will be pivotal are described in detail and then fade into unimportance, while life-changing decisions are made partly or entirely "off-camera". It is less a story than an extended philosophical musing; but more than this, Barnes is very deliberately reminding us that this is how real life pans out: slowly, subtly, momentous only in retrospect.It is hard not to sound pretentiously philosophical when discussing this book, and I actually found the book rather hard to read at first. The protagonist is portrayed slightly too realistically as a precociously cynical schoolboy, making him hard to empathise with, and Barnes makes liberal use of his extensive knowledge of French philosophy and literature. Rather than feeling like he was sharing that knowledge, I felt as though I was inadequate for not knowing Camus' relationship with his maman, or what, precisely an épat is.In a more forgiving mood, though, I recognised Barnes' usual wry observational humour - you get the feeling that nothing in life could be anything other than absurd to him. But not in a biting way - a scene towards the end involving a drunken man feeling up his wife could have been many things, but it came across as genuinely tender and moving (the last words of the chapter are "feeling puzzled").The book progresses from boyhood questing after the meaning of Art and Life, via attempting to find himself in Paris (more name-dropping to skim over, although I have at least briefly "lounged about at Shakespeare & Company"), to a strangely anti-climactic return to suburbia, before concluding, optimistically, that simple happiness is both possible and desirable."But I was thinking in the future conditional rather than the plain future; it's the tense that minimises responsibility." A classic Barnes line: is it just a kind of learnèd pun, or an important message to the reader? It makes you think, even if you're not quite sure what it makes you think. This book doesn't really answer any big questions; in some ways, it doesn't even ask them; instead, it turns to the reader and suggests quietly that they might not be right questions after all.

  • Ben
    2019-04-05 23:49

    I think there are two types of teenagers. The first kind see the world as signifying nothing. The second kind see the world as signifying too much. Both are full of angst, convinced that they can see clearly what the rest of the world--particularly grown-ups, society, the establishment, etc.--is too dull and superficial to notice. Teenagers of the first type are enthralled byJ.D. Salinger'sCatcher in the Rye, and find in Holden Caulfield a more eloquent expression of their own ill-formed views. Teenagers of the second type (as you might imagine, I include myself here) see Holden Caufield as a boring, spoiled, whiny brat. Barnes'Metroland is written for that second type of teenager. If high school reading lists offered a choice between both books, I think my own journey into adulthood might have been a little easier. I would, at least, have had a better literary model. Late in the book, when both main characters have grown into what society would doubtless call adulthood, the less contented of the two confronts his old friend:"Remember when we were at school, when life had a capital letter and it was all Out There somehow, we used to think that the way to live our lives was to discover or deduce certain principles from which individual decisions could be worked out? Seemed obvious to everyone but wankers at the time, didn't it? Remember reading all those late Tolstoy pamphlets called things like The Way We Ought To Live? I was just wondering really if you would have despised yourself then if you'd known you were going to end up making decisions based on hunches which you could easily verify, but couldn't be bothered to?"The questions that second type of teenager asks never really go away; they just get set aside in the press of marriage, mortgages, and steady jobs. There's no shame in that, Barnes suggests, but it happens all the same. We make do. Catcher is a novel about fear, and I read it as ultimately optimistic: being a teenager is hell, but you'll eventually look back on it, your fear conquered with the wisdom of age, and laugh.Metroland is a novel about desire--desire which may change its form and objects, but which never goes away. For Barnes, there is no cliff at the edge of the field, there is only another field, and another, and another. That's life, he says; and we make do.

  • Ashish
    2019-04-17 02:38

    This is the first book by one of my favourite authors and I had always wanted to check out the beginnings of what is an exemplary literary career. Metroland showcases shades of the brilliance of Barnes and is a gateway into understanding what to expect from his other books (for readers new to the author).The book is divided into parts which follow the phases of the protagonist's life as he matures and transforms into an adult. The first part comes across as a coming of age novel wherein​ the circumstances shape the youthful exuberance and cocky confidence of adolescence as the boy and his friend are ready to take on the world. The second part is where the growing pains turn into a young romantic's voes as he discovers himself in another country and under different circumstances. What follows is the settling of middle age, where life teaches him the lessons of maturity and stability and shapes the worldview which is broader and more empathic.The book is characterised by the showcasing of the evolution of the protagonist, from a obstinate teenager to a wilful adult. More importantly, it's about the way human nature is like clay in the hands of time, and the trials and tribulations of life and the people we meet are the forces that eventually and effectively give it the final shape that defines who we are. Barnes has a way of drawing characters, realistic yet incredible. The book has the characteristic subtle humour that we see in a lot of his other works, humour which won't make you laugh out loud, but will definitely tease a chuckle or two. There are certain incongruencies in the book but it's expected from a first time novelist, it's nothing that takes away a lot from the book. There is however a lot of use of French which might be irksome. It requires a fair bit of looking up for translation of phrases, which cannot be skipped as they form some essential parts of the dialogue. This is something that is consistent with some of his other books too, wherein Barnes gives his character a tendency of mix a lot of French in his/her vocabulary. It can be distracting for a reader who doesn't speak the language but it did kick start the drive in me to learn the language as I plan to read everything written by Barnes.Overall a good book, not his best, it has its flaws, but thematically and structurally great.

  • Irini Pavlou
    2019-04-10 01:00

    An enjoyable and entertaining modern classic. I liked the middle and final part more, understandably I couldn't handle the pretentiousness of the first part well.

  • Sonia
    2019-04-10 22:04

    This was originally posted at my blog have to admit two things:1. I read The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes only because he won the Man Booker Prize. There was so much talk about it being too short a book to win and lots of other nonsense. My ears twitched, so I read it.2. I had never heard of Julian Barnes prior to The sense of an ending. Yep, I know…Let’s talk about that book another day. After I finished reading this short book I had to go back to the beginning and read Barnes’ first novel, Metroland.I love Metroland and it confirmed my admiration for Barnes’ writing.Metroland, written in 1980, follows Christopher in three parts: Metroland 1963, Paris 1968 and Metroland II 1977. I’m reluctant to call it a coming-of-age novel but…What hooked me in? This line:‘He was the confidant with whom I shared all my hates and most of my enthusiasms’ (Talking about his friend Toni).You could write a thesis on this sentence alone. Humans are a strange lot. We are very quick to share our grievances and hatreds but when it comes to our passions in life – we are selective to share.I now have a love for capital letters. In the car, Christopher refers to his mother as the Front Seat. And then there is Moral Decisions, Having Relationships, Dog House, Feral Hour, Peace and Quiet, Common Pursuit, Love, Truth and Authenticity.Christopher is rather arrogant as a youngster:‘What, me, sneer at the Victorians? I didn’t have enough sneer-room left. By the time I’d finished sneering at dummos, prefects, masters, parents, my brother and sister, Third Division (North) football, Molière, God, the bourgeoisie and normal people, I didn’t have any strength left for more than a twisted pout at history.’If you picked up on the cynicism in that reflection, you’d be right in guessing that Christopher does wise up as he gets older.Barnes can add text like this:‘…’‘…?’And we know what it means.This is the thing. You can’t skip paragraphs in Barnes’ books. Not even skip words. Every single word counts and means something. This is why he can write short books and win prizes at the same time.

  • Yani
    2019-04-06 02:50

    Relectura febrero 2016*Me gustó, pero no me atrapó. Destaco la variedad de perspectivas que la novela (o los personajes, mejor dicho) ofrece sobre temas cotidianos y no tan cotidianos ¿Algo negativo? ¡Mi edición no tiene una traducción de las frases en francés!(*) Es una novela de iniciación, básicamente. El protagonista, Christopher Lloyd, es un hombre de clase media que va rememorando las distintas etapas de su vida, que se reparten entre los suburbios de Londres y París. Tiene algunas ideas estereotipadas sobre lo que es "sentar cabeza" y vivir sin compromisos. No inventa nada. Lo que sí me gusta es la descripción de los alrededores de Londres y la importancia que se le da al arte en sí.Hay una gran cantidad de frases en francés (incluyendo la interminable y media pretenciosa lista de libros que menciona Chris), como ya señalé, que al no contar con una traducción parecen gritarte en la cara "deberías haber aprendido algo". Pues no. Me pareció un libro un tanto misógino (en la parte de la adolescencia de Chris y su amigo Toni es peor) que intenta arreglarse sobre el final, sin éxito. O capaz que a mí no me interesa leer páginas y páginas en donde un protagonista se la pasa pensando con qué mujer se va a acostar hasta que se decide por formalizar una (a la inversa me sucedería exactamente lo mismo). Quiero leer más a Barnes, de todos modos.

  • Artfulreader
    2019-04-14 01:39

    Wellwritten. Male-centric. Half-baked.

  • Aljoša
    2019-03-27 22:42

    3.5A somewhat enjoyable novel. It was too short in my opinion. It ended just when it got interesting.How fitting it was that this was my 14th and final Barnes' novel, although it was his first. But don't worry, I still plan on reading two of his short story collections before the New Year's Eve.I'm glad to see that this was still the same Barnes as we know him. In 1980. he was already a huge admirer of Flaubert's as well as the French culture. "Metroland" deals with the rebellious youth versus the adults who've given up on their ideals from youth and "sold out".

  • Nikki
    2019-04-08 23:45

    I am yet to find a Barnes novel that I dislike. This is a complete opposite of Flaubert's Parrot or History of the World in 10 and 1/2 chapters, but you can see the beginnings of Barnes' love for art, France and making you think about stuff, like growing up, and what happiness is, etc. Some say that they don't see a happy ending in Chris' story, I think I do, or a least that he's getting there. There's nothing wrong with being happy in marriage, with kids and well payed job that you DO like.

  • Maria Grigoryeva
    2019-03-28 01:40

    Read in English, if you can, much more enjoyable reading and gives you real perspective into Barnes’ talent.

  • Hannah Eve
    2019-04-08 21:56

    *Contains spoilers*Probably the best account of school boyhood I've ever read: it’s self-consciously intelligent (obviously), written in a frank, witty voice that transitions neatly from teenage boy to grown man, and deftly analyses the ideas and experiences which lead to its satisfying conclusion. The novel’s protagonist, Christopher, and best friend Toni navigate their adolescence in suburban London together as intellectual confidants, ‘constructively loafing’, which equates to hanging around in various educational settings, observing and fervently debating things/people. Almost every major subject is turned over at least once, but their immediate concerns are of course, sex and art - the actual, serious ‘ameliorative’ function of art. As dedicated members of the ‘Anger generation’ (Toni’s ‘very cross about it’), there’s also a natural cynicism and proud disdain of adulthood and all those connected to it. The boys are outraged when new orange sodium lighting starts to ‘fug up the spectrum’ when it turns reds into browns; they’re troubled about the ‘purity of language’ and the urge to remain ‘rootless’. Nobody will teach them about proper sex and there is the constant fear of rape by shop assistants or commuters on the train. At the source of this light-hearted resentment, fuelled by persistent sexual frustration (and confusion), is the largely unvoiced ‘bourgeois’ neighbourhood, embodying all of the necessary but materialistic traits of middle-class life - a place absent of ‘simpler, truer, deeper’ things. Both boys declare in utter certainty that they will never become one of ‘them’. As the boys grow older they inevitably part ways, maintaining an epistolary relationship, though with increasingly diverging opinions. Toni hangs around in the wake of several highly controversial and unsuccessful books and a leather jacket. Whilst he keeps up a fierce loyalty to rejecting anything remotely ‘bourgeois’ - or even globally typical, like inviting your girlfriend to meet your best mate - Chris has, in Toni’s eyes, ‘sold out’ and settled down into married life with a kid, a mortgage; even a silly garden. During a strained meeting in the latter Toni scrapes by a punching after a series of sardonic remarks about Chris’s wife, their flower-bed and general mutual comfort (an ironic hark-back to the mocked marriage confirmation class where Chris noted, ‘the most exciting phrase was ... “mutual comfort and companionship”’). But that’s just what Chris discovers. Having disentangled himself from the perpetual bewilderment of teenagehood, overcome enough of his maladroit handling of women to secure one and thus, a sex 'life' (the key all along?), he finds a sort of benign tedium in the comfortable regularity of conventional, middle-class suburban life. Of course, with that sort of beginning where else would he end up? It all finishes like a nicely penned circle. The overriding feeling at the end of the novel is that, actually, it’s okay to be comfortable and happy. You don’t have to be a revolutionary if you’re not up to it; art is great and has a lot to say for itself, but it’s not as functional as the central heating in your house, still less promising than the old feeding-bottle ‘stored high on a dresser’. Perhaps, after all, healthy marital sex was in fact the ultimate ‘ameliorative’ art? Even the characteristic self-doubts aren’t overwhelming enough to keep Chris up at night, especially it seems when, at a school reunion it transpires that most of the old acquaintances he and Toni ridiculed are similarly content with the idea of ‘cheese and wine dos’ instead of ambiguous sexual relationships or high-flying political careers. They’re also rather more amiable than Toni these days. From looking around his room in Paris mid-way through the novel, noting its contents, sensing the things he didn't have, the story ends with Chris quite serenely listing the things he has gained: they’re all material of course - and he has lost neither imagination nor intellect from accumulating them (‘as I track the lawn mower carefully across our sloping stretch of grass, rev, slow, brake, turn and rev again, making sure to overlap the previous stripe, don’t think I can’t still quote you Mallarmé’). But his things, the ‘constant carpet’ and ‘double glazing’, the spoon in the breakfast bowl and feeding-bottle evoke something simpler and deeper: family, security, futures - in short, ‘real life’ - the thing he had been yearning for since boyhood.

  • Lee Razer
    2019-04-01 03:01

    "Ah - a new definition of "adult": the time during which one has sold out", remarks Toni caustically. But then it's certainly not the majority of us who maintain an adolescent's sneering contempt of the bourgeoisie (as they might term it in London, at least) and of such traditional life choices as marriage, children, mortgages, and steady jobs on into what can solidly be considered the adult years. The debut novel of Julian Barnes is a coming of age story that extends into the solid rungs of adulthood and contrasts the diverging paths of teenage best friends Toni, who retains the stark intellectual and emotional outlook of rebellious adolescence, and Chris, who either matures or sells-out, as you like it.As teenagers in sixties London, Toni and Chris bonded over a shared intellectualism, a revulsion towards their suburban surroundings, a conviction that Art was the most important thing in life, and an impatient waiting for that time that they would be Out There Living, and doing so better than the contemptible adults around them did. In 1968, Chris, now 21, goes to Paris, officially with a research grant in hand but more accurately on a self-discovery jaunt. He becomes involved with a girl and begins to reconsider certain attitudes:"Until I met Annick I'd always been certain that the edgy cynicism and disbelief in which I dealt, plus a cowed trust in the word of any imaginative writer, were the only tools for the painful, wrenching extraction of truths from the surrounding quartz of hypocrisy and deceit. The pursuit of truth had always seemed something combative. Now, not exactly in a flash, but over a few weeks, I wondered if it weren't something both higher - above the supposed conflict - and simpler, attainable not through striving but a simple inward glance."It is his first love affair, and the righteous certitude of teenage theories fails him: "'[F:]eelings' were things you felt, so why couldn't you identify them?". He fumbles that relationship away, but meets the woman he'll marry back home in London in three years time. There, Toni refuses to attend the wedding on principle, sending "a carefully argued case against marriage" through the post that Chris doesn't bother to read. When do the theories stop? He finds a job in publishing, which "doesn't make me feel shitty: we don't fight against making money but we use good people, and we produce good books."The novel ends when Chris and Toni are about 30 years old. They see each other infrequently, and Toni does not hold back his assertive contempt for Chris's "bourgeois" life those times they meet up, condemning his friend's retreat from those trenchant attitudes they shared as adolescents. Chris is on the defensive on two fronts, towards Toni and towards the inner voice of self-doubt, the latter being the more insidious. As the story comes to a close he fights it off: "But what do these complaints urge, except pointless excess and disloyalty to one's character? What do they promise but disorientation and the loss of love? What's so chic about extremes; and why such guilt about the false lure of action?" He's a happy man, he declares, an achievement worthy of an adult life. I first read this novel at age 22, while on a bit of a self-discovery jaunt in a foreign country myself. I'd say it was a time of some transition not dissimilar to what Chris's character experienced. Re-reading the novel now at age 33, I have ended up in much the same place Chris did. Married, mortgage, child(ren), steady job that doesn't make me feel shitty. Bourgeois? Perhaps. Happy? Yes. It is worthy.

  • Chalchihut
    2019-03-27 21:00

    After reading several books from Julian Barnes, I decided to read all of his books. I plan to go in order from the beginning (exception being his upcoming book The Noise of Time this year). So I started with Metroland, his debut.Barnes’ language has been always challenging to me. He makes English sound so intelligent and complicated, hence I like to read his writings. It’s interesting to see how his writing style has been exclusive starting from this book. Even though it evolved in time, this prelude to his bibliography has very basic elements starting from this story; references to Flaubert and use of the French language.This book tells the story of Christopher, starting from his childhood and ends in his adulthood. We witness how this young and restless boy grows up into a man and how his thoughts change during the process. It’s rather a short book for analyzing a character for that interval, but that’s Barnes’ talent to sum it up well enough. I enjoyed reading the adult Christopher and his ideas and discussions with his best friend Toni since from his childhood, his questioning of marriage, sex and love, since these questions are occupying every adults’ minds. I wish these discussions were longer, as well as the book.I also have to add that at least basic knowledge in French language (even in French literature) might help a lot for the fluency of reading. Barnes uses some French sentences or words every now and then during the story without any translation given. I understand if someone who doesn’t speak French would find it annoying.A very successful debut, but somehow gives me the feeling of not fulfilling its potential completely.

  • Carolyn
    2019-03-29 00:52

    Okay, I admit, I picked this book up largely because of its cover. The edition I found for supercheap at a local bookstore has an illustration of two young men in the Underground, the lights of a train coming towards them. I have a thing for subways and the image just sort of spoke to me. I'm glad I picked it up, though the first 72 pages of this slim novel were a bit of a slog for me. Those pages are concerned for the most part with the friendship between Chris, who narrates, and Toni. The two sixteen-year-old boys, too clever for their own good, discuss all of the Big Questions in life, but although they are extraordinarily articulate in doing so, I think they still fundamentally maintain the perspectives of relatively immature sixteen-year-olds. There's some pleasure to be had here in the social games they play, as when they walk into a Man Shop and Toni asks the assistant for one man and two small boys, just to see how he reacts. But this section of the book lacked, for me, any sense of conflict. Eventually the novel jumps ahead, and I found the later sections far more interesting, as Christopher comfortably settles into a bourgeois lifestyle while Toni, no longer such a monumental presence in Chris' life, still holds fiercely (and foolishly, in my opinion) to the ideals of their youth. Barnes is a tremendously intellectual writer who also manages to be quite playful and humorous but at times I couldn't quite penetrate the flow of the conversations between Chris and Toni. Nonetheless, I was content to push along, even when I wasn't entirely sure precisely what Chris and Toni were talking about, and in the end I found the book quite pleasurable, with the final pages being especially beautiful, evocative, and poignant.

  • Ankit
    2019-03-30 02:48

    It is Just amazing that how the randomness of a certain event leads us to experience another event in relation to it. I somehow recall first the month of Jan this year where I coincidentally happen to go to a book store due to a power failure. So had the power not failed or had a british reader not recommended the book "The Sense of an ending" or had I did not see the entire work by Julian Barnes the probability of me reading this book would have been minimal.Julian Barnes in this book tells us the Story of two Boys/Lads/Teenagers/Men through different ages of Life. It's not a story so most of the readers will never say they liked the story but for me its the period of life that worked with me. I absolutely loved reading their Adolescent age but was also equally hooked with Chris Life in Paris. Chris first Sexual experience, His first Love, his first break up leading to his marriage, his conflict with Tony was saddening part of the book & that's where the Writer slowly loses the grip but all's well that end well. The Object Relations at the end of every stage of life was equally enjoyed & gave the book a depth, an inner meaning, an insight of tony on how he looks back at the time that went by.The book usually worked for me because of the equal combination of Wit & Philosophy. The books works wonders in provoking class, interest and above all provokes thought in every minds and a thought to Ponder!

  • Miguel Jiménez
    2019-04-09 00:45

    Una novela que es cortita y se lee rápido. El libro es mucho más que esa sinopsis lamentable. Yo creí que todo el libro se la pasaría hablando de la adolescencia y de cómo observaban a la gente. Pues no, se divide en tres partes de la vida del protagonista, pero aún así creo que no hay pierde. La personalidad de los adolescentes sí es algo particular pero no tan "disparatada" como la ponen. Ahora, cuando leí a los personajes femeninos me detenía un momento para pensar y decir: "¡Órale, qué loco!". Increíble la caracterización y los diálogos que decía cada una(Annick y Marion). Pero en especial el personaje de Annick fue el que me gustó, me sorprendía la naturaleza con que se desenvolvía, su sinceridad, era solo ella. Sin duda, estaba ante el mejor personaje femenino que he leído. Siento que aún daba para mucho más, lástima que fue muy poco lo que salió. Le pongo cuatro estrellas porque tiene partes que son admirables y para destacar, mayormente en los diálogos. Reiteró que hubo como tres o cuatro ocasiones que me quede meditando sobre un punto, no porque no entendiera sino porque decía "¡Increíble!". Pienso que Julian Barnes es ante todo un observador, con un mundo visto desde la realidad y no impuesto por la sociedad y los medios de comunicación. Claro que volvería a leer algo de él, aparte de que en otros de sus libros utiliza el protagonismo coral, el cual me gusta.

  • Ditte
    2019-04-02 00:07

    Ik moest even inkomen bij dit boek. De Nederlandse vertaling is nogal slecht, wat het lezen niet prettiger maakte, en het verhaal is ook gewoon niet opvallend origineel. Julian Barnes lijkt wel originaliteit na te streven, maar zeker in het eerste deel van het boek komen de personages (daardoo?) vooral een beetje onnatuurlijk over. Er zullen ongetwijfeld tieners zijn die zijn als Tony en Christopher in Metroland, maar zoals vaak in boeken en films het geval is met kinderen en jongeren, komen ze iets té eigenwijs en bijdehand over. Maar, misschien waren tieners in de jaren zestig wel echt zo :)Het boek wordt beter vanaf het tweede deel, waarin Christopher in Parijs woont om onderzoek te doen. Het verhaal komt dan minder geforceerd over en er lijkt ook meer een lijn in te zitten. Metroland is een vrij typische coming-of-age novel. Onderhoudend, maar zeker niet het sterkste in het genre.

  • Beth
    2019-03-26 20:08

    My first thought is, I can't believe that this book isn't more well-known. It has the feel of a classic coming-of-age novel to me. It details the way in which an irreverent, anti-anything-conventional teenager ends up becoming a married suburbanite. The 1963 section of the book so perfectly captured adolescence that it was startling--I wanted to copy something down off pretty much every page.

  • Lauren Albert
    2019-03-27 03:56

    One of the things I've learned is that one sign of adulthood is learning that it is okay to be "normal" (and okay to not be). Our narrator learns this but his friend fails to.Anyone who has been an overly-intellectual adolescence can appreciate Barnes' wry and affectionate humor in his portrayal of the narrator and his friend in their contempt of the "bourgeoisie."

  • Mark Speed
    2019-04-22 19:43

    I think this was the second Barnes novel I read. It was tremendously funny, and I actually did laugh out loud on a couple of occasions. I've tagged it as biography on my shelves because it's loosely based on his childhood experiences. I know that not everyone was a pretentious and precocious schoolboy, but it resonated with me.

  • Louise
    2019-04-13 02:49

    Just couldn't get into this one......I read reviews about how clever it was and subtle....that all went right over my head... I just found the characters as school children annoying....and a little bland after.The highlight for me in this book was the uncle....

  • Alice
    2019-04-10 21:51

    Brilliant and far too short!

  • Travis J. Coner
    2019-03-26 03:56

    I'll remember most the chapter of Part II in Paris when he sheds in immaturity with his virginity, and finds his own voice in writing exercises. Like Sense of and Ending, 31 years later, the obvious similarities seems to explore male identity, youthful cynicism, and blossom into happiness, and intellectual argument to be excited about happiness, why can't I be happy at 3o with wife kids and good job. Split with best friend Toni, beautifully written, if awkward, vulgar, it's sharp and pulsating. Toni seems to have succumbed to his bitterness, a life of insults, pessimism, and what I believe of people like this, a tragically chronic, untrue, self pitying sense of misunderstanding turned resentment, where Julian's character finds a happier space. I wouldn't recommend this to many as it may seem Aloof, turgid, pretentious, snooty, supercilious. Which is a shame. But it is exactly because he speaks directly, with a modern thrill, while weaving in these deeper philosophies, that makes me pause and contemplate why my conversations are so pale and limp. I'm excited to read more of Barnes, too see if he stays on path with a life evolving congruent to his age.

  • Rachelle
    2019-04-01 19:40

    Objectively this book has little to offer beyond the aesthetic of the writing, but when you have experienced living in the “bourgeois dormitory” of Metroland first-hand, the depiction of cynicism and, later, numbing gratitude for the dullness is acute. We describe this as an area of “too much money and terrible taste”, and for me the most profound revelation of the book is that you can quote Mallarmé while cutting the grass. An incredibly privileged education and upbringing doesn’t necessarily afford you an interesting life... and yet that life can still be fulfilling. This is the story of my neighbours - these strange families who have chosen to live this extravagant (=eye-wateringly expensive) life of extreme boredom. When I wonder about their life choices, I will now think of this book.

  • George
    2019-04-12 01:56

    4.5 stars. A very enjoyable read that is in three parts. In suburban London in 1963, Christopher Lloyd, as a 16 year old, comments on his life and his friend Toni. Part two is about Christopher's time in Paris in 1968 where he is studying. He has a relationship with a French girl and meets three English people around his age that he hangs out with. In the third part Christopher is back in London in 1977 and meets up with Toni. Christopher is a one woman relationship man whereas Toni has a number of affairs. It is a well told story of the things that Christopher thinks about during these times. His sex life (without the detail!), his political views, going to art galleries, his career and his relationships with the people in his life. A very good first novel by Julian Barnes.

  • Rob Manwaring
    2019-03-30 00:51

    Who'd have thought I'd really enjoy a novel about the reminiscences of a white, English, middle class school boy? Actually, that does Barnes' novel a disservice - this is a smart, clever and funny read. Barnes called this a novel of defeat, and in a way, it is. Don't we all capitulate to Metroland somehow? Still, this was a good palliative on that journey. Barnes is a quiet, clear writer, and funny too. The scene of Christopher's first date with Anneke is just brilliant. This was the audible version read by Greg Wyse, and he does a great job with it too, funny, and just the tight amount of world weariness.