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Julian Barnes - book author

Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer of postmodernism in literature. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize - Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005), and won the prize for The Sense of an Ending (2011). He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

Following an education at the City of London School and Merton College, Oxford, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. Subsequently, he worked as a literary editor and film critic. He now writes full-time. His brother, Jonathan Barnes, is a philosopher specialized in Ancient Philosophy.

He lived in London with his wife, the literary agent Pat Kavanagh, until her death on 20 October 2008.

Julian Barnes is the author of books: The Sense of an Ending, The Noise of Time, Arthur & George, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, Flaubert's Parrot, The Only Story, Levels of Life, Talking It Over, England, England, Nothing to Be Frightened of

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Author Books

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01
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 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.
02
A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich: Julian Barnes’s first novel since his best-selling, Man Booker Prize–winning The Sense of an Ending.

In 1936, Shostakovitch, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, executed on the spot), Shostakovitch reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children—and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for decades to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.

Barnes elegantly guides us through the trajectory of Shostakovitch's career, at the same time illuminating the tumultuous evolution of the Soviet Union. The result is both a stunning portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man and a brilliant exploration of the meaning of art and its place in society.
03
As boys, George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, living in shabby genteel Edinburgh, find themselves in a vast and complex world at the heart of the British Empire. Years later—one struggling with his identity in a world hostile to his ancestry, the other creating the world’s most famous detective while in love with a woman who is not his wife–their fates become inextricably connected.

In Arthur & George, Julian Barnes explores the grand tapestry of late-Victorian Britain to create his most intriguing and engrossing novel yet.
04

Beginning with an unlikely stowaway's account of life on board Noah's Ark, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters presents a surprising, subversive, fictional history of earth told from several kaleidoscopic perspectives. Noah disembarks from his ark but he and his Voyage are not forgotten: they are revisited in on other centuries and other climes - by a Victorian spinster mourning her father, by an American astronaut on an obsessive personal mission. We journey to the Titanic, to the Amazon, to the raft of the Medusa, and to an ecclesiastical court in medieval France where a bizarre case is about to begin...

This is no ordinary history, but something stranger, a challenge and a delight for the reader's imagination. Ambitious yet accessible, witty and playfully serious, this is the work of a brilliant novelist.

05
Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011

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.

A compelling weave of fiction and imaginatively ordered fact, Flaubert's Parrot is by turns moving and entertaining, witty and scholarly, and a tour de force of seductive originality
06
Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.

First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn’t know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he’s proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.

As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.

Tender and profound, The Only Story is an achingly beautiful novel by one of fiction’s greatest mappers of the human heart.
07
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.

"You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed..."

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.
08
"Talking It Over" is the story of three Londoners: one woman, two men, all near the age of thirty (give or take a few years), who, despite their basic differences - Gillian is reserved, Stuart is a bit pedantic, Oliver leans toward flamboyance - mark the three corners of an orderly triangle: Gillian and Stuart have just been married, Stuart and Oliver are longtime friends, Oliver and Gillian get along fine. Straightforward and simple. Everyone in their places, getting along, going along...

Until everything goes wrong.

When it does, Gillian, Stuart and Oliver decide that it's time to talk it all over. Because although they'd all agree that the orderliness of their lives has suddenly mutated into chaos - the alarming fluctuations of love being the chief culprit - that's about all they'd agree on ("One bit of information and people are immediately off into their theories," says Stuart, a bit pedantically). And each of them is determined to be heard.

What we hear are three wonderfully realized voices telling three wildly different versions of one story - presenting the protean facts of disintegrating and escalating affections, laying blame, taking blame, talking about themselves, about each other, across each other, behind each other's backs, all in an attempt to get at the endlessly elusive truth. And what they reveal is the sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartrending process of selective memory that deeply colors the (more or less) fine art of eyewitnessing.

Once again, the brilliant author of "Flaubert's Parrot", "Staring at the Sun" and "A History of the World in 10-and-1/2 Chapters" gives us a dazzling work of imagination: witty, wry, playful and, in the end, honed to a razor-sharp emotional edge.
09
Jerry Batson, qui se définit comme un « accoucheur d'idées », va en vendre une assez sensationnelle à sir Jack Pitman, un excentrique milliardaire : créer sur l'île de Wight une sorte de gigantesque parc d'attractions rassemblant tout ce qu'il y a de plus typique, de plus connu en Angleterre. Cela va des blanches falaises de Douvres à Manchester United, de Buckingham Palace à Stonehenge, du mausolée de la princesse Diana au théâtre de Shakespeare.
Le projet est monstrueux, hautement risqué, et voilà qu'il se révèle être un énorme succès. La copie va-t-elle surpasser l'original ? Et qu'adviendra-t-il si c'est elle que les touristes préfèrent visiter ?
Férocement drôle, drôlement impitoyable, impitoyablement au vitriol, voilà un portrait de l'Angleterre comme on n'en avait encore jamais vu.
10
Two years after the best-selling 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.