“Each had known her for many years – perhaps 80 or 90 in total – and each would have said, if asked, that they loved her. I mentioned her name; no one picked it up. I did it again, and again nothing. Perhaps the third time I was deliberately trying to provoke, being p----- off at what struck me not as good manners but cowardice.
“Afraid to touch her name, they denied her thrice, and I thought the worse of them for it.” Barnes, who has been known for more cryptic works, also admitted considering suicide after her death.
“The question of suicide arrives early, and quite logically,” he writes. “I knew soon enough my preferred method – a hot bath, a glass of wine next to the taps, and an exceptionally sharp Japanese
carving knife. I thought of that solution fairly often, and still do.”
But he decided his end would be akin to a second death of his wife, since he was “her principal rememberer”.
He says he is now equipped with a “firm argument” against suicide, but admits the temptation remains.