Talking It Over by Julian Barnes Presented by Sherry Lu 2004/05/06 Julian Barnes Julian Barnes
19 January 1946born in Leicester, England. 1968receiving his BA degree in Magdalen C ollege, Oxford. 1966-67as an English teacher in a school in Rennes, France. 1969-72the staff of the Oxford English Dicti onary. Reviewing books for the Times Literary Suppl ement, later becoming literary editor of the N ew Statesman. 1979-86as a television critic, first for the Ne w Statesmen and then for the Observer (Lond
on). Works Metroland (1980) Before She Met Me (1982) Flaubert's Parrot (1984) Staring at the Sun (1986) Metroland (1987) A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (1989) Talking It Over: A Novel (1991) The Porcupine (1992) Letters from London: 1990-1995 (1995) Cross Channel (1996) England, England (1998) Love, Etc. (2000)
Something to Declare: Essays on France (2002) Talking it Over A story of a love triangle: Stuart and Oliver are best friends Stuart marries Gillian Oliver falls in love with Gillian Oliver marries Gillian. Narration (1) Multiple
Points of view Unreliable narratives Repetition The characters address the reader directly. Stuart, Oliver, and Gillian each tell their own story, with a few other voices also making themselves heard. Narration (2) Each offering a different point of view , a different spin, and, occasionally, a
n entirely different account of what h appened. They not only strive to seduce the re ader's admiration but inquire nervous ly about what the others are saying, provide warnings against their decep tions, and so on. Characters
Stuart: a young banker, careful, a bit unsur e of himself, without a university education. Stuart: rabbit imagery. (33) Oliver: a pedantic, unfulfilled soul, a wilder, artsy type who travelled, studied, and finall y wound up as teaching at the tacky Shakes peare School of English. Oliver: dog imagery. (47, 79, 203,250) Gillian: trained in social work for while, but t hen became an art restorer. A homosocial relationship (1) In a patriarchal society the privileging of male ho
mosocial relationships is naturalised. Stuart and Oliver are schoolboy friends. Their init ial exchange is overtly and consciously economic : "Lend us a quid". (18) A pair who are overtl y aware of and even discuss the economic found ation of their relationship. We very occasionally went on double dates but they were without exception complete disasters. For a start, Oliver would always provide the girls and I would always provide the money" (52). The 'girls' are referred to as somehow seco
ndary to the men themselves. A homosocial relationship (2) A competition between them. Stuart and Gillian: Stuart has essentially take n Oliver's 'job' and found a girl for himself. Just like at school. Poor old Oliver. This tim e I simply wrote him a decent-sized cheque a nd told him not to worry about repaying it" (7 3). Oliver's response: to triangulate the relations hip. He thus convinces himself that he is in lo ve with Gillian, thereby justifying his willful in sertion into Stuart and Gillian's personal life.
A homosocial relationship (3) Olives and Gillian: We live in an era of m arket forces, Stuart, and it would be nave or, as they used to term it, romantic not to realise that market forces now apply in wh ole areas where hitherto they were deeme d inapplicable (160). Stuart: He hasnt changed, Oliver. Land u
s a quid, give us your wife. Hes basically a parasite, do you see? A work-shy snob and a parasite (163). Female role (1) Women as purely sexual objects and never as equals. Stuart and Oliver really view Gillian as the object of negotiation.
Gillian: initially rejects her opportunity to spea k. She tells the reader "I'm an ordinary, private person. I haven't got anything to say" (9-10). Later feels a need to defend her opinions and actions. Gillian and Oliver: Oliver "needed someone like Stuart around. It's the same as colour theory. When you put two colours side by side, that aff ects the way you see each of them" (258). Female role (2) Gillian has been reduced to viewing and placing herself as subordinate to the needs and interests of both Stuart and Oliver (242).
Gillian: Love, respect, fancy. I thought Id got all three with Stuart. I thought I got all three with Oliver. But maybe threes not possible. Maybe the best you can get is two, and the HOLD button is always on the blink (255). Truth? Lies? The conflicting stories: seem to suggest that there is no real truth, only conflicting stories, but it is possible to discover the facts, though
how they should be judged is another matter. Reference http://www.julianbarnes.com/bib/tio.html http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/ barnesj/tio.htm
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