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A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters | [Julian Barnes]

A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

This is one of the defining novels of English writer Julian Barnes. An entertaining melange of stories starting with a contemporary account of the launch of Noah's Ark takes us into unexpected areas of human foibles, activities, and tendencies.
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Publisher's Summary

This is one of the defining novels of English writer Julian Barnes. An entertaining melange of stories, starting with a contemporary account of the launch of Noah's Ark, takes us into unexpected areas of human foibles, activities, and tendencies.

After success with the main novels of Haruki Murakami, Naxos AudioBooks turns its attention to other major literary works of recent times.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2007 Naxos Rights International; (P)2007 Naxos Rights International

What the Critics Say

“Barnes's witty and sometimes acerbic retelling of the history of the world. The stories are connected, if only tangentially, which is precisely Barnes's point: historians may tell us that "there was a pattern," but history is "just voices echoing in the dark . . . strange links, impertinent connections." Fascinating reading from the author of Flaubert's Parrot.” (Library Journal)

"Frequently brilliant, funny, thoughtful, iconoclastic and a delight to read." (Salman Rushdie)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (97 )
5 star
 (33)
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Overall
3.8 (53 )
5 star
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3 star
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Story
4.0 (55 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard United States 02-11-13
    Richard United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    "More Great Julian Barnes"
    Where does A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    HISTORY OF THE WORLD is one of the best books I have yet to listen to, and I have listened to hundreds. Barnes is brilliant with his wide ranging intelligence and splendid writing style. Alex Jennings is one of my favorite narrators and has done equally well with other of Julian Barnes' books.


    What did you like best about this story?

    These are stories that are linked in the most subtle (and not so subtle) way.


    Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Alex Jennings' narrations of other Julian Barnes books are truly wonderful.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Some of these stories are quite funny, and others serious and philosophical.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis 12-19-12
    Lewis 12-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    96
    3
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    "An uneven collection of smart short stories"
    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The stories were "smart" as contrasted with "interesting" or insightful, though some were better than others. It seemed like more of an intellectual exercise by a clever man rather than the kind of literature Barnes has written before, and the stories are tied together very loosely, if at all. Not close to his best work and not as good a style as his novels.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott USA 04-18-12
    Scott USA 04-18-12 Member Since 2006

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.” (George R. R. Martin)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    Story
    "A Look at our Place in History"
    What made the experience of listening to A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters the most enjoyable?

    Good stories and a few great ones read by a talented narrator.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That's difficult to say but I think that the stories being so different from one another but having unifying themes was one of the collection's strengths.


    Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings – was your favorite?

    The character in the last story 'The Dream.' Somehow reminded me of Ricky Gervais...


    If you could take any character from A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'm not sure. That's a bit of a strange question...


    Any additional comments?

    Overall Review: ‘A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters’ contains one of what I believe to be the best short stories I have ever listened to, the last story in the collection, titled ‘The Dream.’ For my money this story alone is worth the price of admission. I also thought the collection’s opener ‘The Stowaway’ was a standout.

    I felt that the audiobook was a challenging one. The stories at first glance appear to be unrelated but are connected though the themes of voyage, discovery, and the interpretation of history. Barnes is deftly able to handle these subjects with a sense of good humor and the seemingly unconnected stories make for a unified piece once viewed together.

    If you are familiar with Julian Barnes work then you should be pleased with this collection. If you are new to Julian Barnes it’s best to know that he’s a contemporary English writer who writes literary fiction. If you’re a fan of literary fiction and you like short stories then you can’t really go wrong here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Houghton Encino, CA USA 07-19-14
    J. Houghton Encino, CA USA 07-19-14 Member Since 2013

    Dead Man Dancing

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Top drawer!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters to be better than the print version?

    Because of Alex Jennings, yes. Though, of course, Julian Barnes is to blame. What a combination!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters?

    Hard to say, when I was laughing so hard


    Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He's always wonderful


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh


    Any additional comments?

    I would listen to Alex Jennings read the phone book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Downey 02-28-13
    Joe Downey 02-28-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Intelligent but ponderous"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. It was ponderous


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    ?


    Was A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters worth the listening time?

    Not for me


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting concept and structure; I quit before the ending. Wore me out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alisa moscow, Russia 01-03-13
    Alisa moscow, Russia 01-03-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    3
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    Story
    "Brilliant!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters to be better than the print version?

    Exceptional brilliant narration!


    What other book might you compare A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters to and why?

    A Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy - maybe because of characters


    Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Who was the most memorable character of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters and why?

    just in progress


    Any additional comments?

    I`d like to listen more books narrated by Alex Jennings

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark WorthingUnited Kingdom 02-20-08
    Mark WorthingUnited Kingdom 02-20-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Not what I Expected"

    The publisher describes this book as 'one of the defining novels of English writer Julian Barnes' and whilst it is a clever and creative look at human nature, I was disappointed because the title and Audible description did not adequately describe that the book was not actually a serious work about history.

    I suppose I was looking more for a WORLD HISTORY FOR DUMMIES, so Barnes' stories took me by surprise.

    Entertaining, none-the-less! For whiling away long hours of boring long-haul flying, and mindless train journeys, this was a good audio book to have tucked into my iPod.

    9 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucie 05-21-12
    Lucie 05-21-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "Pedantic ... very little to do with History"
    What disappointed you about A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters?

    It's not a history of the world as advertised ... unless you're crazy about wood worms and Noah's Ark


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Nothing by Julian Barnes


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The story about the actor in the jungle, that was kind of interesting... not that I know why, the author stops and the story goes on and on about the definition of Love...


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters?

    too much to make a book


    Any additional comments?

    make your own decision, but if you want a real interesting world history listen to The Mental Floss History of the World (Unabridged) available on Audible

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 05-31-10
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 05-31-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected either"

    Think about this book as a loosely tied together collection of short stories which is not how it was described. It's first and last "chapters" (read stories) are entertaining enough, but I can't seriously recommend the entire book.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results
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  • Martin
    Inerness, United Kingdom
    5/13/09
    Overall
    "Entertaining, often funny"

    This is like a collection of short stories that have an overlap with characters and themes, without quite making it seem like it is just one whole story. I found it was a very pleasant listen and quite enlightening, a few laugh out loud moments too. I really liked the style of the stories all being so different but having a common thread linking them all in some way. There were a couple of parts I found went a little bit off what I would normally expect to listen to but I was quite suprised to find I was happily engaged by them and neither went on long enough that I lost interest, just enough to be interesting. Well narrated, well written and entertaining. Will give some of the other titles by this author a listen.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom
    10/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Odd - but enjoyable"

    I like short stories and so this was perfect, for that is what the book is, basically. A series of short, often very different stories. Some are sad, some savage, some dry, witty and wry.

    The narration was perfect.

    I have given it 4 stars overall partly because of the reader; the story (such as it is, there isn't one, really) gets only 3. So if a book that has a beginning, middle and end is your cup of tea, this might not be. It's not a novel, it's a series of (very lightly) linked tales.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results

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