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.
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“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)
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.
These are stories that are linked in the most subtle (and not so subtle) way.
Alex Jennings' narrations of other Julian Barnes books are truly wonderful.
Some of these stories are quite funny, and others serious and philosophical.
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.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.” (George R. R. Martin)
Good stories and a few great ones read by a talented narrator.
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.
The character in the last story 'The Dream.' Somehow reminded me of Ricky Gervais...
I'm not sure. That's a bit of a strange question...
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.
Dead Man Dancing
Because of Alex Jennings, yes. Though, of course, Julian Barnes is to blame. What a combination!
Hard to say, when I was laughing so hard
He's always wonderful
I would listen to Alex Jennings read the phone book!
No. It was ponderous
Not for me
Interesting concept and structure; I quit before the ending. Wore me out.
Exceptional brilliant narration!
A Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy - maybe because of characters
just in progress
I`d like to listen more books narrated by Alex Jennings
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.
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.
It's not a history of the world as advertised ... unless you're crazy about wood worms and Noah's Ark
Nothing by Julian Barnes
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...
too much to make a book
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
"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.
"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.
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