Title: Metroland (Goodreads)
Author: Julian Barnes
Published: Vintage, 1980
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Kindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
Metroland is the first hand account of Christopher Lloyd, from growing up in the suburbs of London to the brief period after graduation in Paris and then the early years of marriage. As a child Christopher was obsessed with the idea of bourgeois lifestyle with his friend Toni. In Paris he remembers his French girlfriend Annick and now he has a mundane marriage.
While this is a novel, it’s also a reflection of Christopher Lloyd’s life. As a child he has big plans as well as being obsessed with the idea of having sex. Then he finally meets Annick and has sex and has such fond memories of this relationship. Then looking at his marriage, he sees it’s not perfect and he wonders to himself is he really happy.
Some people call it “growing up” and others “selling out”; this account of Christopher’s life was really interesting, his attitude and angst didn’t end and he just hasn’t let go with his old ideals. While his French girlfriend challenges his ideals and tries to explain that growing up isn’t selling out he never really gets it. It’s not until he reflects on his past that he starts to understand. Sure his marriage has its problems but he is not unhappy; he is content. But while you never find out what happens next, I got the feeling that Christopher has truly started to understand that his life is good and slowly is changing his thinking.
I loved Julian Barnes’ A Sense of An Ending and I wanted to explore more of his writing. I decided to read this one because of it was short and it felt like a similar style. I really thought this book had a lot to offer, in the way of ideals, morals, relationships, love and just the way we view our lives. Looking back on our lives, it’s easy to remember the good and the bad but there is a whole lot in between we tend to forget, so when Christopher is looking at his past, he misses so much.
A beautiful novel, while very short has so much in it to offer. I went and watched the movie adaption of this book as well. While it captured a lot of the books ideas, I couldn’t get past the idea of Christian Bale as Christopher Lloyd and felt it left out a lot of be beauty. Fans of Julian Barnes should check this book out. Christopher Lloyd is an interesting character; a coming of age novel but this hipster took a long time to really grow.