The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes
At the heart of Julian Barnes's new collection is perhaps the most common and predictable theme in literature: the business of ageing and its attendant emotions. Most forceful among these is regret, naturally, and a creeping terror of ageing, but Barnes's characters bring an awareness of their own folly for refusing to relinquish the pleasures and passions of the younger self, and a concurrent awareness of a growing inability to pursue those passions with consistent vigor.
This final first-person narrative crystallizes the submerged ideas of preceding stories. The symbolism of the book's title is made explicit - the composer explains that, for the Chinese, the lemon is the symbol of death, so that his local café table where he gathers with friends to discuss mortality becomes “the lemon table“.
Julian Patrick Barnes (born 19 January 1946 in Leicester, England) is a contemporary English writer. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize (Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005)). He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.