Pulse by Julian Barnes
Stories

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Readers of Barnes will be pleased to know that the author’s mordant wit is still richly in evidence throughout Pulse. But the stories often remind us that Barnes’s forte is the novella, in which he can tell a coherent story and develop his themes at the same time, without either the sharp focus of the short story or the demands of the novel.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

After 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Julian Barnes

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Julian Barnes's honors include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He lives in London. www.julianbarnes.com
 
Published May 3, 2011 by Vintage. 243 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Pulse
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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on May 20 2011

Readers of Barnes will be pleased to know that the author’s mordant wit is still richly in evidence throughout Pulse. But the stories often remind us that Barnes’s forte is the novella, in which he can tell a coherent story and develop his themes at the same time, without either the sharp focus of the short story or the demands of the novel.

Read Full Review of Pulse: Stories | See more reviews from National Post arts

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