Levels of Life

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

'You put together two people who have not been put together before.' Levels of Life p.73

In Levels of Life Julian Barnes gives us Nadar, the pioneer balloonist and aerial photographer; he gives us Colonel Fred Burnaby, reluctant adorer of the extravagant Sarah Bernhardt; then, finally, he gives us the story of his own grief, unflinchingly observed.

This is a book of intense honesty and insight; it is at once a celebration of love and a profound examination of sorrow.

"[A]n unrestrained, affecting piece of writing, raw and honest and more truthful for its dignity and artistry, every word resonant with its particular pitch. It defies objectivity. Anyone who has loved and suffered loss, or just suffered, should read this book, and re-read it, and re-read it." -Martin Fletcher, The Independent

"Julian Barnes presents himself as essentially adrift and unmoored, and stoically so; his grieving is passionate but narrow." - Joyce Carol Oates, The Times Literary Supplement



NOTE: When possible, editions are linked to entries in the online Julian Barnes Bibliography. These entries feature multiple images of the book and additional bibliographic details.
English Editions

Levels of Life. London: Jonathan Cape, 2013.

Levels of Life. London: London Review Bookshop, 2013.
There are 50 copies only (plus 3 hors commerce), 35 of which have been quarter-bound in Harmatan Black fine leather and Duo Linde cloth sides with letterpress label and endpapers on green Bugra Bütten paper, and numbered 1 to 35. 15 copies have been fully bound in the same leather and numbered i to xv.

Levels of Life. New York: Knopf, 2013.

Levels of Life. Random House Canada, 2013.

Audio Editions

Levels of Life. 2013: Read by Julian Barnes - UK & US
[Unabridged, 3 hours, 10 minutes]

Translated Editions

Bulgarian - (Levels of Life). Sofia: Obsidian Press. Pp. 120 [1]. ISBN: 9789547693364

Dutch - Hoogteverschillen. Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Uitgeverij Atlas, 2014. Pp. 128. Translated by Ronald Vlek. ISBN: 9789025443764.

French - Quand tout est déjà arrivé. Collection Bibliothéque étrangère, Mercure de France, 2014. Pp. 144. Translated by Jean-Pierre Aoustin. ISBN: 9782715234673.

German - Lebensstufen. Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2015. Pp. 144. Translated by Gertraude Krueger. ISBN: 9783462044331.

Romanian - Niveluri de viata. Bucuresti: Nemira, 2014. Pp. 120. Translated by Radu Paraschivescu. ISBN: 9786065797093.


04/25/2013 - Julian Barnes: "I do believe in grudge-bearing" Soumya Bhattacharya, New Statesman

04/03/2013 - Julian Barnes - Mark Lawson, Front Row (BBC Radio 4)

03/29/2013 - The Sense of Another Ending - Emma Brockes, Guardian
[Emma Brockes talks with Julian Barnes about Levels of Life.]


12/19/2013 - The Most Mysterious Subject - Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books

12/17/2013 - Potpourri History - Rachel Syme, The New Yorker

12/03/2013 - On the Other Side of the Divide: A Review of Julian Barnes's Levels of Life - Sarah Bridgins, Trop

11/26/2013 - Julian Barnes, Levels of Life - Richard B. Woodward, Collector Daily

11/06/2013 - 'Levels of Life' Is, on One Level, a Meditation on Julian Barnes' Grief - Alan Ashton-Smith, Popmatters.com

10/28/2013 - Julian Barnes explores grief and ballooning in 'Levels of Life' - Ellen Kanner, Miami Herald

10/13/2013 - Beard book vies for Waterstones Book of the Year - BBC News

10/11/2013 - Levels of Life - Jessica Ferri, Barnes and Noble Review

10/05/2013 - 'Levels of Life' by Julian Barnes - John Freeman, The Boston Globe

10/2013 - A widower's story - Catherine Hollis, BookPage

09/29/2013 - Emotional tribute to love lost - Alexandra Primiani, NY Daily News

09/26/2013 - Julian Barnes 'Levels' With Us On Love, Loss And Ballooning - Heller McAlpin, NPR books

09/26/2013 - Levels of Life - Kirkus

09/26/2013 - Levels of Life: The Atmosphere of Love and Loss in New Memoir By Julian Barnes - Nathan Gelgud, Biographile

09/25/2013 - 'One Relishes the Pain': Julian Barnes' Memoir of Grief - Adam Begley, The Daily Beast

09/24/2013 - Julian Barnes's 'Levels Of Life': The Book We're Talking About - Huffington Post

09/21/2013 - REVIEW: 'Levels of Life,' by Julian Barnes - Malcolm Forbes, Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

09/20/2013 - Latitudes of Grief - Sarah Manguso, New York Times

05/27/2013 - The Negative of Love - Luke Brunning, The Oxonian Review

05/23/2013 - Levels of Life by Julian Barnes - Heather Wells, The London Magazine

05/09/2013 - Little more than hot air. - Leo Robson, New Statesman

05/01/2013 - Julian Barnes and the work of grief - Joyce Carol Oates, The Times Literary Supplement

04/19/2013 - For Julian Barnes, 'every love story is a potential grief story' - Sandra Martin, The Globe and Mail

04/16/2013 - Reviews round-up: Levels of Life - New Statesman

04/13/2013 - Book review: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes - David Sexton, The Scotsman

04/13/2013 - 'Levels of Life', by Julian Barnes - review - Sam Leith, The Spectator

04/13/2013 - There's life's highs and lows, and then there's ballooning - Leyla Sanai, The Independent

04/12/2013 - Stages of grief - Peter Aspden, Financial Times

04/10/2013 - Levels of Life by Julian Barnes - Roger Brunyate, MostlyFiction

04/10/2013 - Levels of Life by Julian Barnes – review - Blake Morrison, The Guardian

04/06/2013 - Levels of Life by Julian Barnes – review - Peter Conrad, The Guardian

04/06/2013 - The sense of no ending - The Economist

04/04/2013 - LEVELS OF LIFE - JULIAN BARNES - Johan De Haes, Cobra.be (Dutch)

03/29/2013 - Levels of Life by Julian Barnes - Martin Fletcher, The Independent

03/25/2013 - Julian Barnes: Levels of Life, review - Tim Martin, The Telegraph