Before She Met Me – Julian Barnes
This early Barnes is by no means formative. In fact the closest parallel is with his latest, The Sense of an Ending.
In common with the Booker winner, it is brief, both funny and chilling, and concerned with the past being simultaneously unknowable and inescapable. This is the best character introduction I’ve come across in some time:
Jack Lupton answered the door with a smouldering cigarette lodged in the side of his beard.