‘Every love story begins with a crime’, claims one character early on in Love, etc. Julian Barnes more than rises to the aphorism’s challenge: his novel’s quietly tense suburban narrative both begins with a crime and ends with one.
Its flip, disillusioned title sums it up. Love, etc is often funny, but ends as a bitterly bleak meditation on love from the perspective of middle age.
Of the contemporary novelists he is commonly associated with, Barnes has been the freest and most successful in his experiments with form. Despite his