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Books

The following represents a complete listing of books written by Julian Barnes.
For books written by Dan Kavanagh, please visit www.dankavanagh.com.


Metroland
 
  Metroland was Julian Barnes's first novel. It took between 7-8 years to write and draws heavily on his personal experiences growing up in the suburbs of London. Written in three parts, the first section focuses on the friendship of Christopher and Toni and their childhood disgust for the bourgeoisie. The second section finds Christopher in Paris during les événements of 1968, where he misses out on the events because he is too busy having sex. The last section outlines Christopher's life back in the London suburbs, his marriage, his child, and his stable job. When Toni returns to question Christopher's loss of their early childhood philosophy, Christopher is faced with the dilemma of turning his back on his wife and child or acknowledging that he has become what he once despised. Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award for a first novel.   Vintage Edition
 
Before She Met Me
   
  Barnes's second book under his own name. Graham Hendrick divorces, remarries, and finds himself consumed with jealousy as he investigates his new wife's former love affairs. The novel is gritty, shocking, and quite moving in its portrayal of the slow deterioration of its central character.  
   
Flaubert's Parrot
   
  Barnes's "breakthrough" novel about an English doctor's obsession with Gustave Flaubert and his use of Flaubert's writings to make sense of his own life. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.  
   
Staring at the Sun
   
  Barnes examines the ordinary life of Jean Serjeant from her childhood in the 1920s through her adulthood to the year 2021. Throughout her life, Jean learns to question the world's idea of truth while she explores the beauty and miracles of everyday life.  
   
A History of the World in 10˝ Chapters
   
 

Connecting themes of voyage and discovery, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters has become one of Barnes's most studied and talked about novels. The mixture of fictional and historical narratives provides Barnes the opportunity to question our ideas of history, our interpretation of facts, and our search for answers to explain our interaction and placement within the grand scope of history.

"Frequently brilliant, funny, thoughtful, iconoclastic and a delight to read." -- Salman Rushdie, Observer

 
   
Talking It Over
   
  The ostentatious Oliver falls in love with quiet Gillian and wants to marry her. The problem? Gillian has already married Oliver's best and oldest friend, the somewhat stale but stable Stuart. Each character takes turns addressing the reader in this bright and funny "he said/she said/he said" novel.  
   
The Porcupine
   
  With the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, the deposed Party leader Stoyo Petkanov is standing trial for crimes against his country. Unrepentant, Petkanov faces his chief prosecutor, Peter Solinsky, questioning Solinsky's (and the country's) ideas of history and nationalism.  
   
Letters from London
   
  Barnes served as London correspondent for the New Yorker between 1990-1995, writing a series of essays under the collective title of "Letters from London". Gathered here, along with a few essays published elsewhere, this collection constitutes Barnes's first published book of non-fiction.    
   
Cross Channel
   
  A collection of short stories that explore the connections, similarities, and differences between England and France.  
   
England, England
   
  Sir Jack Pitman creates a theme park on the Isle of Wight that duplicates the tourist spots of England. Within easy walking distance are replicas of Big Ben (half size), Princess Di's grave, Harrods, Stonehenge, and the white cliffs of Dover. Martha Cochrane is hired by Sir Jack as his official cynic. The novel follows her development from childhood to retirement as a nation struggles to retain its cultural identity. One of Barnes's finest and funniest novels, England, England calls into question the idea of replicas, truth vs. fiction, reality vs. art, nationhood, myth-making, and self-exploration.  
   
Love, etc
   
  In Talking It Over, Stuart and Oliver fought for the love of Gillian. One of them won, but what happened next? Love, etc catches up with this trio after ten years only to find more chaos and confusion. Written in the same style as the prequel, Barnes takes the form a few steps further as the characters plead for the reader's attention.  
   
Something to Declare
   
  A collection of essays on the subject of France and French culture written by Barnes over the previous twenty years. Subjects include the Tour de France, French food, and, of course, Gustave Flaubert.    
   
In the Land of Pain
   
 

A translation of Alphonse Daudet's notes written during his suffering with syphilis.

Written by Alphonse Daudet; Edited & Translated by Julian Barnes

   
   
The Pedant in the Kitchen
   
  The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire. A stern critic of himself and others, he knows he is never going to invent his own recipes (although he might, in a burst of enthusiasm, increase the quantity of a favourite ingredient). Rather, he is a recipe-bound follower of the instructions of others. It is in his interrogations of these recipes, and of those who create them, that the Pedant's true pedantry emerges. How big, exactly, is a 'lump'? Is a 'slug' larger than a 'gout'? When does a 'drizzle' become a downpour? And what is the difference between slicing and chopping?This book is a witty and practical account of Julian Barnes' search for gastronomic precision. It is a quest that leaves him seduced by Jane Grigson, infuriated by Nigel Slater, and reassured by Mrs Beeton's Victorian virtues. The Pedant in the Kitchen is perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook and is something that none of Julian Barnes' legion of admirers will want to miss.
 
   
The Lemon Table
   
  A collection of short stories on the nuances of life and its insurmountable end.    
   
Arthur & George
   
  Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late 19th century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Catholic Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George a Birmingham solicitor, is happy in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events that made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages. With a mixture of intense research and vivid imagination, Julian Barnes brings into sharp focus not just this long-forgotten case but the inner workings of the two men and the wider psychology of the age. Arthur & George is a novel in which the events of a hundred years ago constantly set off contemporary echoes. It is a novel about low crime and high spirituality; guilt and innocence; identity, nationality and race; and thwarted passion. Arthur & George explores what we think, what we believe, and what we know.  
   
Nothing to be Frightened of
   
Nothing to Be Frightened of by Julian Barnes

 

‘I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.’ Julian Barnes’ new book is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his brother (a philosopher), a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the French writer Jules Renard. Though he warns us that ‘this is not my autobiography’, the result is like a tour of the mind of one of our most brilliant writers.

When Angela Carter reviewed Barnes’s first novel, Metroland, she praised the mature way he wrote about death. Now, nearly thirty years later, he returns to the subject in a wise , funny and constantly surprising book, which defies category and classification – except as Barnesian.

 
   
Pulse
   
Pulse by Julian Barnes

 

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. Ranging from the domestic to the extraordinary, from the vineyards of Italy to the English seaside in winter, the stories in Pulse resonate and spark.

 

 

   
   
The Sense of an Ending
   

 

Winner of the Man Booker Prize, 2011

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.

Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. 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. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?

 
   
Through the Window
   

 

In these seventeen essays (plus a 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, Julian Barnes considers what fiction is, and what it can do. As he writes in his preface, 'Novels tell us the most truth about life: what it is, how we live it, what it might be for, how we enjoy and value it, and how we lose it.'

 
   
Levels of Life
   

 

‘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.

   
   

 
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Last update: 13 March 2013
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