In Levels of Life, Julian Barnes, winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending, describes the intense loss and disorientation he feels since his wife, renowned literary agent Pat Kavanagh, died from a brain tumor only 37 days after being diagnosed in the fall of 2008. This slim book, which is divided into three sections, "The Sin of Height," "On the Level," and "The Loss of Depth," begins much like you might expect from Barnes. He uses careful research of an interesting and quirky subject in history in this case, hot air ballooning in the 19th century and with a combination of refined coolness and subtle ironic humor, looks thoughtfully at the lives, innovations, and personal ballooning interactions of a selection of characters: French actress Sarah Bernhardt; soldier and adventurer, Colonel Fred Burnaby; groundbreaking artist/photographer Félix ...
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