Set in the early Sixties, this love story between a young man of nineteen and a woman twice his age is beautiful, wry, and tender. Home from college, Paul joins the local tennis club. Of most interest to him are the mixed doubles where he partners with Mrs. Susan MacLeod. To the horror of the whole village, this partnership develops into an affair. I would be very surprised if this marvellous novel is not shortlisted for many prizes this year.
Recommended by Noeline Coffey, Dubray Rathmines
Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.
First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he's proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.
As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.
Tender and profound, The Only Story is an achingly beautiful novel by one of fiction's greatest mappers of the human heart.