In May 1937, a man in his early 30s waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now, and few who are taken to the Big House ever return.
"Art belongs to everybody and nobody."
'You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed...' Julian Barnes's new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded him the 2011 Man Booker Prize described him as 'an unparalleled magus of the heart'. This book confirms that opinion.
"Every love story is a potential grief story."
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.
"More Great Julian Barnes"
Julian Barnes' Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's extraordinary real-life fight for justice. Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh; George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age; George remains in hardworking obscurity.
"Well-told unknown story"
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour, and wit. Maybe Adrian was more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
In a collection that is wise, funny, clever and moving, Julian Barnes has created characters whose passions and longings are made all the stronger by the knowledge that, for them, time is almost at an end.
"A Real Downer"
Introducing Stuart, Gillian and Oliver. One by one they take their turn to speak straight out to the camera - and give their side of a contemporary love triangle. What begins as a comedy of misunderstanding slowly darkens and deepens into a compelling exploration of the quagmires of the heart.
"The Narrative Gimmick Works"
Flaubert’s Parrot deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and with its enigmatic narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed.
In these 17 essays (and one short story) the 2011 Man Booker Prize winner examines British, French and American writers who have meant most to him, as well as the cross-currents and overlappings of their different cultures. From the deceptiveness of Penelope Fitzgerald to the directness of Hemingway, from Kipling's view of France to the French view of Kipling, from the many translations of Madame Bovary to the fabulations of Ford Madox Ford, from the National Treasure Status of George Orwell to the despair of Michel Houellebecq
The sun always shines over England, England! With remarkable wit, acclaimed novelist Julian Barnes tells the story of an egotistical mogul and his vision of recreating all of England's attractions in one place. Now visitors can conveniently site-see everything from the Tower of London to Stonehenge in a single weekend. But what happens when fantasy and reality begin to blur?
"Amusing and very familiar!"
In Talking It Over, Gillian and Stuart were married until Oliver - witty, feckless Oliver - stole her away. In Love, etc, Julian Barnes revisits Stuart, Gillian, and Oliver, using the same intimate technique of allowing the characters to speak directly to the listener, to whisper their secrets, to argue for their version of the truth… Love, etc is a compelling exploration of contemporary love and its betrayals.
The adolescent Christopher and his soul mate, Toni, had sneered at the stifling ennui of Metroland, their cosy patch of suburbia on the Metropolitan line. They had longed for Life to begin - meaning Sex and Freedom - to travel and choose their own clothes. Then Chris, at 30, starts to settle comfortably into bourgeois contentment himself. Luckily, Toni is still around to challenge such backsliding.
"Gosh I love Julian Barnes"
Julian Barnes' new book is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his brother (a philosopher), a meditation on morality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and homage to the French writer Jules Renard. Though he warns us that 'this is not my autobiography', the result is a tour of the mind of one of our most brilliant writers.
Geoffrey Braithwaite is a retired doctor haunted by an obsession with the great French literary genius, Gustave Flaubert. As Geoffrey investigates the mystery of the stuffed parrot Flaubert borrowed from the Museum of Rouen to help research one of his novels, we learn an enormous amount about the writer’s work, family, lovers, thought processes, health and obsessions. But we also gradually come to learn some important and shocking details about Geoffrey and his own life.
A brilliant, moving, poignant collection of stories, from the author of Cross Channel and The Lemon Table.The stories in Julian Barnes’ long-awaited third collection are attuned to rhythms and currents: of the body, of love and sex, illness and death, connections and conversations. Each character is bent to a pulse, propelled on by success and loss, by new beginnings and endings.
"Flaubert believed that it was impossible to explain one art form in terms of another, and that great paintings required no words of explanation. Braque thought the ideal state would be reached when we said nothing at all in front of a painting. But we are very far from reaching that state. We remain incorrigibly verbal creatures who love to explain things, to form opinions, to argue.... It is a rare picture which stuns, or argues, us into silence."
No one has a better perspective on life on both sides of the channel than Julian Barnes. In these exquisitely crafted stories spanning several centuries, he takes as his universal theme the British in France; from the last days of a reclusive English composer, the beef consuming 'navvies' labouring on the Paris-Rouen railway to a lonely woman mourning the death of her brother on the battlefields of the Somme.
Tony Webster ha alle spalle un'esistenza ordinaria, al riparo dalle emozioni e da qualsiasi stravaganza, un discreto rapporto con la ex moglie e con la figlia, e si avvia a una tranquilla vecchiaia. Ma a scompigliare la sua vita arrivano 500 sterline e il diario di Adrian, brillante compagno d'università morto suicida.
"His Way" by Steve Coll; "Checking It Twice" by Lizzie Widdecombe; "The Gift Right Out" by James Surowiecki; "The Past Conditional" by Julian Barnes; "Demolition" by Louise Erdrich; and "Best and Brightest" by David Denby.
"U.S. Military Wants More Leeway to Strike Taliban" is from the May 23, 2016 World section of The Wall Street Journal. It was written by Gordon Lubold, Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes and narrated by Alexander Quincy.