Metroland – Julian Barnes

Metroland is one of those books that keeps coming up, through conversation or mentioned in other works. Eventually I decided it had to be read, and put a reservation into my library account. I had to wait a few weeks, but then before I got the email, I was told that it had just arrived when I was returning other books, and the librarian fetched it for me immediately.

A lightly-mocking account of two schoolboys, this has parallels to Catcher in The Rye: a book I was so unimpressed by that I didn’t bother to review. But the more British humour of Metroland worked much better with my tastes.

“Hey, what about that? What if the whole school, apart from us, became bank managers. Wouldn’t that be great?”

I also greatly appreciated the passage of time, impact of adulthood and benefit of perspective when reexamining characters who grew up together. That expectation of the whole school being dull, except our central characters, is cast into a new light as one of them grows up.

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