Library
Delicious Library
Collection Total:
2,848 Items
Last Updated:
Aug 8, 2019
Arthur & George
Julian Barnes*****From one of England’s most esteemed novelists, an utter astonishment that captures an era through one life celebrated internationally and another entirely forgotten.

In the vast expanse of late-Victorian Britain, two boys come to life: George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, in shabby genteel Edinburgh, both of them feeling at once near to and impossibly distant from the beating heart of Empire. One falls prey to a series of pranks en route to a legal vocation, while the other studies medicine before discovering a different calling entirely, and it is years before their destinies are entwined in a mesmerizing alliance. We follow each through outrageous accusation and unrivaled success, through faith and perseverance and dogged self-recrimination, whether in the dock awaiting complete disgrace or at the height of fame while desperately in love with a woman not his wife, and gradually realize that George is half-Indian and that Arthur becomes the creator of the world’s most famous detective. Ranging from London clubs to teeming prisons, from a lost century to the modern age, this novel is a panoramic revelation of things we thought we knew or else had no clue of, as well as a gripping exploration of what goals drive us toward whatever lies in wait–an experience resounding with issues, no less relevant today, of crime and spirituality; of identity and nationality; of what we think, what we believe and what we can prove.

Intriguing, relentless and, most of all, moving, Arthur & George richly extends the reach and achievement of a novelist described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a dazzling mind in mercurial flight.”
Before She Met Me
Julian BarnesAt 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 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.
Cross Channel
Julian BarnesIn 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.

"Barnes is a witty, playful and ironic writer at the top of his form...Cross Channel is in the best sense an artful book."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Fluently written, finely observed...delicately patterned."—New York Times
England, England
Julian BarnesImagine being able to visit England—all of England—in a single weekend. Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Stonehenge and Hadrian's Wall, Harrods, Manchester United Football Club, the Tower of London, and even the Royal Family all within easy distance of the each other, accessible, and, best of all, each one living up to an idealized version of itself. This fantasy Britain is the very real (and some would say very cynical) vision of Sir Jack Pitman, a monumentally egomaniacal mogul with a more than passing resemblance to modern-day buccaneers Sir Rupert Murdoch or Robert Maxwell: "'We are not talking theme park,' he began. 'We are not talking heritage centre. We are not talking Disneyland, World's Fair, Festival of Britain, Legoland or Parc Asterix.'" No indeed; Sir Jack proposes nothing less than to offer "the thing itself," a re-creation of everything that adds up to England in the hearts and minds of tourists looking for an "authentic" experience. But where to locate such an enterprise? As Sir Jack points out,England, as the mighty William and many others have observed, is an island. Therefore, if we are serious, if we are seeking to offer the thing itself, we in turn must go in search of a precious whatsit set in a silver doodah. Soon the perfect whatsit is found: the Isle of Wight; and a small army of Sir Jack's forces are sent to lay siege to it. Swept up in the mayhem are Martha Cochrane, a thirtysomething consultant teetering on the verge of embittered middle age, and Paul Harrison, a younger man looking for an anchor in the world. The two first find each other, then trip over a skeleton in Sir Jack's closet that might prove useful to their careers but disastrous to their relationship. In the course of constructing this mad package-tour dystopia, Julian Barnes has a terrific time skewering postmodernism, the British, the press, the government, celebrity, and big business. At the same time his very funny novel offers a provocative meditation on the nature of identity, both individual and national, as the lines between the replica and the thing itself begin to blur. Readers of Barnes have learned to expect the unexpected, and once again he more than lives up to the promise in England, England. But then, that was only to be expected. —Alix Wilber
Flaubert's Parrot
Julian Barnes*****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.
Flaubert's Parrot; A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (Everyman's Library (Cloth))
Julian Barnes*****An Everyman's Library hardcover omnibus edition of two of the Booker Prize-winning author's earliest and most admired novels, neither of which has been available in hardcover for more than two decades. With full-cloth binding, a silk ribbon marker, a chronology, and a new introduction.

Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes's breakthrough book—shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1984—is the story of Geoffrey Braithwaite, a retired doctor who is obsessed with the French author and with tracking down a stuffed parrot that once inspired him. Barnes playfully combines a literary detective story with a character study of its detective, embedded in a brilliant riff on literary genius. A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters is a mix of fictional and historical narratives of voyage and discovery—ranging from a woodworm's perspective on Noah's ark to a survivor from the sinking of the Titanic—that question our ideas of history. One of his most inventive works, it was praised by Salman Rushdie as "frequently brilliant, funny, thoughtful, iconoclastic, and a delight to read."
A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters
Julian BarnesThis 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!
Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art
Julian BarnesAn extraordinary collection—hawk-eyed and understanding—from the Man Booker Prize–winning, best-selling author of The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life.

As Julian Barnes notes: “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 it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And if one does, it is only a short time before we want to explain and understand the very silence into which we have been plunged.”

This is the exact dynamic that informs his new book. In his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, Barnes had a chapter on Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, and since then he has written about many great masters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art, including Delacroix, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Cézanne, Degas, Redon, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Lucian Freud and Howard Hodgkin. The seventeen essays gathered here help trace the arc from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism; they are adroit, insightful and, above all, a true pleasure to read.
Letters from London
Julian BarnesWith brilliant wit, idiosyncratic intelligence, and a bold grasp of intricate political realities, the celebrated author of Flaubert's Parrot turns his satiric glance homeward to England, in a sparkling collection of essays that illustrates the infinite variety of contemporary London life.
Levels of Life
Julian BarnesJulian Barnes, author of the Man Booker Prize–winning novel The Sense of an Ending, gives us his most powerfully moving book yet, beginning in the nineteenth century and leading seamlessly into an entirely personal account of loss—making Levels of Life an immediate classic on the subject of grief.
 
Levels of Life is a book about ballooning, photography, love and loss; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded Barnes the 2011 Booker Prize described him as “an unparalleled magus of the heart.” This book confirms that opinion.
 
“Spare and beautiful...a book of rare intimacy and honesty about love and grief.  To read it is a privilege.  To have written it is astonishing.” —Ruth Scurr, The Times of London

“A remarkable narrative that is as raw in its emotion as it is characteristically elegant in its execution.”  —Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
Love, etc.
Julian BarnesIn matters of love and friendship, how much can be endured? What might be forgiven? And who—given the inevitable, knotty complications—is desirable still?

From such questions, and using all the surprising, sophisticated ingredients of a delightful farce, Julian Barnes has created a tragicomedy 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 how Stuart feels toward Gillian, his wife before his witty, feckless, former best friend Oliver stole her away. True, he did make a fuss at their subsequent wedding, and spied on them in their French village; but he was agreeable about the divorce, moved to America, remarried briefly, prospered, then returned to London shortly after Oliver and Gillian, avec les enfants, did.
Meanwhile, Oliver’s artistic ambitions have turned to ashes in his mouth, so it’s Gillian supporting the household—until Stuart rejoins them.

What transpires to further complicate the situation doesn’t bear repeating, especially as the three principals (along with many others) are allowed to speak directly to the reader, to whisper their secrets and argue their own particular versions of what actually happened, and why. Indeed, emerging from this crux are a number of truths we all live by: faith and generosity, trust and commitment, toward ourselves and our loved ones; or, absent those, banality and even brutality.

Every bit as funny and intelligent as anything Julian Barnes has written, Love, etc. is also fabulously engaging, powerfully dramatic, and profoundly unsettling.
Metroland
Julian BarnesOnly 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."
The Noise of Time
Julian Barnes
Nothing to Be Frightened Of
Julian BarnesTwo 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.
The Pedant in the Kitchen
Julian BarnesThe 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 Porcupine
Julian BarnesThe author of Talking It Over trains his laser-bright intelligence and phosphorescent prose on the ambiguities raised by the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. "His literary energy and daring are nearly unparalleled among contemporary English novelists."—New Republic.
Pulse: Stories
Julian BarnesAfter the best-selling Arthur & George and Nothing to Be Frightened Of, Julian Barnes returns with fourteen stories about longing and loss, friendship and love, whose mysterious natures he examines with his trademark wit and observant eye.

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, he 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 come 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.
The Sense of an Ending
Julian BarnesBy 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.
Something to Declare: Essays on France and French Culture
Julian Barnes*****
Staring at the Sun
Julian BarnesA fighter pilot, high above the English Channel in 1941, watches the sun rise; he descends 10,000 feet and then, to his amazement, finds the sun beginning to rise again. With this haunting image Julian Barnes' novel begins. It charts the life of Jean Serjeant, from her beginnings 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 questioning of male truths, her adventures in motherhood and in China; we learn the questions she asks of life and the often unsatisfactory answers it provides.
Talking It Over
Julian BarnesIn this powerfully affecting Flaubert's Parrot gives readers a brilliant take on the deceptions that make up the quivering substrata of erotic love. "An interplay of serious thought and dazzling wit. . . . It's moving, it's funny, it's frightening . . . fiction at its best."—New York Times Book Review.
Through the Window: Seventeen Essays and a Short Story
Julian BarnesFrom 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.”
The Lemon Table : Stories
JULIAN BARNES*****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.
Duffy Omnibus
Julian Barnes/Dan KavanaghThis omnibus edition contains "Duffy", "Fiddle City", "Going to the Dogs" and "Putting the Boot In".