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Publisher's Summary

In a collection that is wise, funny, clever and moving, Julian Barnes has created characters whose passions and longings are made all the stronger by the knowledge that, for them, time is almost at an end.

The stories included are:

  • 'A Short History of Hairdressing'
  • 'The Story of Mats Israelson'
  • 'The Things You Know'
  • 'Hygiene'
  • 'The Revival'
  • 'Vigilance'
  • 'Bark'
  • 'Knowing French'
  • 'Appetite'
  • 'The Fruit Cage'
  • 'The Silence.

©2004 Julian Barnes (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A master at work, a writer in absolute control of his material. . . . Sweet, sour, bitter, wistful, ruminative, comic, elegiac–The Lemon Table is . . . a joy to read." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Beautifully wrought elegies for lost youth, lost promises and lost loves [that] attest to Mr. Barnes's growing depth as a writer, his newly embraced ability to create stories that are as affecting as they are cunning, as emotionally resonant as they are prettily fashioned." (New York Times)
"Filled with emotional resonance and hard-won wisdom, The Lemon Table is a virtuoso performance of remarkable clarity and insight." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story
  • Cariola
  • Chambersburg, PA USA
  • 07-03-12

A Real Downer

I picked up this collection of short stories on the strength of Barnes's Booker-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending. Similarly, most of these stories also deal with aging--but without the humor and touch of hope found there. Quite a few deal with artists, musicians and writers who have lost their talent; several others involve elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer's and their caretakers. Overall, I found it rather sad and depressing, although finely written.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Banal, petty characters mocked by author.

Really, no fun at all. Too bad, because I dearly love Prunella Scales. She is one of the very best readers. Barnes just comes off as mean-spirited to come up with these miserable creatures and then make fools of them in narrative.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • GRANIA
  • 05-26-11

Bit of a lemon

Sorry Mr Barnes, I know you are a good writer, but this collection of short stories did not leave me wanting more - in fact I couldn't even finish it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Merrit Morgan
  • 07-02-16

The usual genius

What made the experience of listening to The Lemon Table the most enjoyable?

Julian Barne's impeccable writing and being able to hear it read properly.

What did you like best about this story?

The range and variety of characters.

Have you listened to any of Timothy West and Prunella Scales ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes, they are always wonderful. These first class narrators make all the difference.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some of the stories are quite disturbing...they have stayed with me

Any additional comments?

I love his work and it is so fantastic to hear it read so well. Loved it. Make a long journey very enjoyable.