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Julian Barnes' Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's extraordinary real-life fight for justice. "Arthur George" is based on the true story of two men. One is Arthur Conan Doyle, the other is George Edalji, a solicitor from Birmingham. Their nineteenth-century lives are worlds and miles apart, until a series of shocking events brings them together. In dubious circumstances, George is found guilty of harming animals and is sentenced to seven years' penal servitude--a future of ignominious obscurity. However, when Arthur, who is now one of the most famous men in the land as creator of Sherlock Holmes, hears of this racist miscarriage of justice he decides to clear George's name. . . Told against the backdrop of Arthur's family life--his own passionate affair with the woman who was to become the second Lady Conan Doyle and his wife's lengthy battle with tuberculosis--this extraordinary novel is a dazzling exercise in detection.
At the start of this fiendishly comic and suspenseful novel, a mild-mannered English academic chuckles as he watches his wife commit adultery. The action takes place before she met him. But lines between film and reality, past and present become terrifyingly blurred in this sad and funny tour de force from the author of Flaubert's Parrot.
In his first collection of short stories, Barnes explores the narrow body of water containing the vast sea of prejudice and misapprehension which lies between England and France with acuity humor, and compassion. For whether Barnes's English characters come to France as conquerors or hostages, laborers, athletes, or aesthetes, what they discover, alongside rich food and barbarous sexual and religious practices, is their own ineradicable Englishness. The ten stories that make up Cross Channel introduce us to a plethora of intriguing, original, and sometimes ill-fated characters. Elegantly conceived and seductively written, Cross Channel is further evidence of Barnes's wizardry.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Wickedly funny." --The New York Times. Imagine an England where all the pubs are quaint, where the Windsors behave themselves (mostly), where the cliffs of Dover are actually white, and where Robin Hood and his merry men really are merry. This is precisely what visionary tycoon, Sir Jack Pitman, seeks to accomplish on the Isle of Wight, a "destination" where tourists can find replicas of Big Ben (half size), Princess Di's grave, and even Harrod's (conveniently located inside the tower of London). Martha Cochrane, hired as one of Sir Jack's resident "no-people," ably assists him in realizing his dream. But when this land of make-believe gradually gets horribly and hilariously out of hand, Martha develops her own vision of the perfect England. Julian Barnes delights us with a novel that is at once a philosophical inquiry, a burst of mischief, and a moving elegy about authenticity and nationality.
A kind of detective story, relating a cranky amateur scholar's search for the truth about Gustave Flaubert, and the obsession of this detective whose life seems to oddly mirror those of Flaubert's characters.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This is, in short, a complete, unsettling, and frequently exhilarating vision of the world, starting with the voyage of Noah's ark and ending with a sneak preview of heaven!
Julian Barnes, recipient of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, is one of our most highly regarded novelists. In this collection of three novels spanning his career, we see the broad range of his imagination and literary skill. Barnes's third published novel, brought him worldwide acclaim and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. "A high literary entertainment" (The New York Times) Flaubert's Parrott is, among other things, a piercing glimpse at the nature of obsession and betrayal, both scholarly and romantic. Barnes's second shortlisted novel, England, England, is a sly, a satiric invention, in which a visionary tycoon attempts to replicate a jolly old England that probably never really existed: Robin Hood's men are genuinely merry and the royals all behave themselves impeccably, until, of course, everything begins to go horribly wrong. Finally, Arthur & George re-creates late-Victorian Britain, in which the fates of two vastly different men become entwined, one seeking vindication in a world that looks askance at his origins, the other creating the world's most famous detective, while keeping his own secrets.
Master prose stylist Julian Barnes presents a collection of stories whose characters are growing old and facing the end of their lives -- some with bitterness, some with resignation and others with raging defiance. "Life is just a premature reaction to death," was what Viv's husband used to say. Once her lover and friend, he is now Viv's semi-helpless charge, who is daily sinking ever deeper into dementia. In "Appetite," Viv has found a way to reach her husband: by reading aloud snippets of recipe books until he calls out indelible -- and sometimes unfortunate -- scenes locked away in his brain. In "The Things You Know," two elderly friends enjoy their monthly breakfast meetings that neither would ever think of missing. Of course, all they really have in common is a fondness for flat suede shoes and a propensity for thinking spiteful, unspoken thoughts about one another's dead husbands. "The Fruit Cage" is narrated by a middle-aged man whose seemingly orderly upbringing is harrowingly undone when he discovers that his parents' old age is not necessarily a time of serenity but actually an age of aroused, perhaps violent, passions. In these stories, Julian Barnes displays the erudition, wit and uncanny insight into the human mind that mark him as one of today's great writers, one whose intellect and humour never obscure a genuine affection for his characters. From the Hardcover edition.
"[Julian Barnes] reinvents the wheel; I'm always fascinated to see what shape it's going to be next."--Jay McInerneyWith the same brilliant style and idiosyncratic intelligence that have marked all his novels--and with a bold grasp of intricate political realities--Julian Barnes's ironic glance turns home. Letters from London takes in everything from Lloyd's of London's demise to Maggie's majesty to Salman Rushie's death sentence. Formidably articulate and outrageously funny, Letters from London is international voyeurism at its best--a peek into the British mindset from the vantage point of one of the most erudite and witty British minds.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Part history, part fiction, part memoir, Levels of Life is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief. Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth century with balloonists, photographers, and Sarah Bernhardt, whose adventures lead seamlessly into an entirely personal account of the author's own great loss. "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 Barnes as "an unparalleled magus of the heart." This book confirms that opinion.
Julian Barnes has created a deep, dark feast of human frailties and needs. Love, etc. stars three characters introduced a decade ago in Talking It Over-- to which this novel has an eerie, freestanding relation. Which is precisely what Stuart felt about his wife Gillian, until his witty, feckless, former best friend Oliver stole her away. Fabulously engaging and profoundly unsettling.
Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of sexual awakening in the 1960s, and a portrait of the accommodations that some of us call "growing up" and others "selling out."
Two years after the bestselling Arthur & George, Julian Barnes gives us a memoir on mortality that touches on faith and science and family as well as a rich array of exemplary figures who over the centuries have confronted the same questions he now poses about the most basic fact of life: its inevitable extinction. If the fear of death is "the most rational thing in the world," how does one contend with it? An atheist at twenty, an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for and against and with God, and at the bloodline whose archivist, following his parents' death, he has become--another realm of mystery, wherein a drawer of mementos and his own memories (not to mention those of his philosopher brother) often fail to connect. There are other ancestors, too: the writers--"most of them dead, and quite a few of them French"--who are his daily companions, supplemented by composers and theologians and scientists whose similar explorations are woven into this account with an exhilarating breadth of intellect and felicity of spirit. Deadly serious, masterfully playful, and surprisingly hilarious, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a riveting display of how this supremely gifted writer goes about his business and a highly personal tour of the human condition and what might follow the final diagnosis.
In his latest novel, Julian Barnes, author of Talking It Over and A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, trains his laser-bright prose on the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Stoyo Petkanov, the deposed Party leader, is placed on trial for crimes that range from corruption to political murder. Petkanov's guilt -- and the righteousness of his opponents -- would seem to be self-evident. But, as brilliantly imagined by Barnes, the trial of this cunning and unrepentant dictator illuminates the shadowy frontier between the rusted myths of the Communist past and a capitalist future in which everything is up for grabs.
From a writer who's on a roll, fourteen stories that range freely through the historical past and contemporary life, touching on longing and love, loss and friendship, and a great many passions in between. It's the strongest collection yet from Julian Barnes.From an imperial capital in the eighteenth century to Garibaldi's adventures in the nineteenth, from the vineyards of Italy to the English seaside in our time, Julian Barnes finds the "stages, transitions, arguments" that define us. A newly divorced real estate agent can't resist invading his reticent girlfriend's privacy, but the information he finds reveals only his callously shallow curiosity. A couple comes together through an illicit cigarette and a song shared over the din of a Chinese restaurant. A widower revisiting the Scottish island he'd treasured with his wife learns how difficult it is to purge oneself of grief. And throughout, friends gather regularly at dinner parties and perfect the art of cerebral, sometimes bawdy banter about the world passing before them. Whether domestic or extraordinary, each story pulses with the resonance, spark and poignant humor for which Barnes is justly heralded.From the Hardcover edition.
By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse. This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about--until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he'd left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he'd understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world. A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes's oeuvre.
Anyone who loves France (or just feels strongly about it), or has succumbed to the spell of Julian Barnes's previous books, will be enraptured by this collection of essays on the country and its culture. Barnes's appreciation extends from France's vanishing peasantry to its hyper-literate pop singers, from the gleeful iconoclasm of nouvelle vague cinema to the orgy of drugs and suffering that is the Tour de France. Above all, Barnes is an unparalleled connoisseur of French writing and writers. Here are the prolific and priapic Simenon, Baudelaire, Sand and Sartre, and several dazzling excursions on the prickly genius of Flaubert. Lively yet discriminating in its enthusiasm, seemingly infinite in its range of reference, and written in prose as stylish as haute couture, Something to Declare is an unadulterated joy.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Staring at the Sun" charts the life of Jean Serjeant, from her beginning as a naive, carefree country girl before the war through to her wry and trenchant old age in the year 2020. We follow her bruising experience in marriage, her probing of male truths, her adventures in motherhood and in China and we learn cannot fail to be moved by the questions she asks of life and the often unsatisfactory answers it provides.
Shy, sensible banker Stuart has trouble with women; that is, until a fortuitous singles night, where he meets Gillian, a picture restorer recovering from a destructive affair. Stuart's best friend Oliver is his complete opposite u a language teacher who 'talks like a dictionary', brash and feckless. Soon Stuart and Gillian are married, but it is not long before a tentative friendship between the three evolves into something far different. Talking it Over is a brilliant and intimate account of love's vicissitudes. It begins as a comedy of misunderstanding, then slowly darkens and deepens, drawing us compellingly into the quagmires of the heart.
From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending and one of Britain's greatest writers: a brilliant collection of essays on the books and authors that have meant the most to him throughout his illustrious career. In these seventeen essays (plus a short story and a special preface, "A Life with Books"), Julian Barnes examines the British, French and American writers who have shaped his writing, 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, "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."
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