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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

At once commanding and subtle, Barnes has created a refined novel intensely suspenseful in its emotional complexities and exemplary in its arresting tropes, rhythms, revelations, and musings on the puzzle of time and the mysteries of memory and desire. And how masterfully Barnes induces us, page by page, to revise our perceptions of and feelings toward his ensnared narrator. Cordially divorced and smugly retired, Tony is yanked out of complacency by a perplexing letter. The recently deceased mother of his disastrous first love has inexplicably bequeathed him the diary of a school friend of his who committed suicide. As Tony seeks an explanation, Barnes turns evocative motifs--the way Tony and his friends wore their watches with the faces on the inside of their wrists; the night Tony witnessed the Severn Bore, a powerful tidal surge that reverses the river's flow--into metaphors for how we distort the past and how oblivious we are to the pain of others. Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Barnes' sublimely modulated and profoundly disquieting tale of delusion, loss, and remorse ends devastatingly with a crescendo twist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Barnes is a British author Americans follow with high attention, and this novel secured him the Man Booker Prize.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist