Paul, age nineteen, meets Susan, age forty-eight, when they are paired together for a tennis mixed doubles match. Susan is married and has two daughters who are close to Paul in age. Despite a number of differences, they fall in love and eventually move in together. Although they encounter several set backs, they stay together for almost a decade. Their love affair and its aftermath is described by Paul after Susan has died and he is a man in his sixties. Throughout the narrative, Paul searches for a quote, phrase or idea that describes exactly what love is.
For those who want a fast paced plot, The Only Story is not for you. However, I enjoyed Barnes’s story, his characters and his digressions about love, memory and honesty.