Paperback, 240 pages
2011 Man Booker award winner for The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes, says that he writes about “memory and time. What time does to memory and what memory does to time, how they interact.” In this collection of short stories, written at around the same time as the novel, he explores that theme. The book is anchored by four pieces all titled At Phil & Joanna’s composed almost entirely of dialogue around the dining room table. The couples share wit and sexual innuendo long into the night as they shave tidbits from the “cliff-face of cheese.” Interwoven with these conversations are poignant tales, often about other couples, that are similarly anxious and glib. Some of our favorites include The Limner, The Marriage Lines, and Carcasonne. Updike like!