Julian Barnes became a widower in 2008 when his wife died of a brain tumour at age 68 . Pat Kavanagh was a brilliant and well respected literary agent. They had been together, off and on but mostly on, for over 30 years.
The first two sections of the book, on the early days of ballooning, are mildly interesting but puzzling. Where is this going? He begins to tie them all together in the last section, which is a memoir of his grief. Still, the links seem a bit tenuous and stretched.
This last section is touching, sad, profound. It did feel sort of intrusive, or voyeuristic somehow, to be given this access. It felt like he needed to write out his grief, as a therapy for himself, and as a way to continue but then in some way finally end, his post mortem conversation with his wife.
It is another addition to the sadly expanding genre of 'grief lit'.