Dear Great Book Guru, Every Thursday during July and August, you will find me at Sea Cliff’s Memorial Park enjoying the Civic Association’s Sunset Serenades. The music is lovely and the setting extraordinary. While waiting for the musicians to arrive, I always look out at the Harbor with a good book in hand. Do you have a recommendation for this week? Sunset Serenader
Dear Sunset Serenader, This weekend, I finished a very short, very moving book: THE ONLY STORY by Julian Barnes. When the story opens, Paul is a nineteen year-old British undergraduate spending the summer of 1963 with his parents in their London suburb home. To keep him amused and “out of trouble” his mother gifts him a membership in a local tennis club. There he meets Susan Macleod- a forty-nine year old married woman with two grown daughters. Susan and Paul fall in love and their story becomes for Paul “the only story”- the story that is central to his identity. The novel traces Paul’s feeling over a fifty year period as he questions the depth of friendship, of passion, of love. We suspect from the beginning that love will not conquer all, but along the way we meet characters that hint at its redemptive powers. At the end, Paul leaves himself and the reader with the question: “Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more, or love the less and suffer the less?” Highly recommended!