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A History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters

A History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters [Kindle Edition]

Julian Barnes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Frequently brilliant, funny, thoughtful, iconoclastic, and a delight to read. Barnes is like a worldly, secular reincarnation of a medieval gloss-writer on sacred texts, and what he offers us is the novel as footnote to history, as subversion of the given, as brilliant, elaborate doodle around the margins of what we think about what we think we know" (Observer)

"You will want to read it again and again, and why not? - there's nothing around to touch it" (Literary Review)

"There is more moral and intellectual fodder, and more jokes, here than you will read in a month of Sundays... storytelling and teaching which captivate, liberate, and above all, enchant" (Financial Times)

"This is a novel like no other - provocative, superbly funny, a wonderful and most original the reader a sense of ebullient, whooping joy" (Guardian)

Anne Smith, Literary Review

‘You will want to read it again and again, and why not? – there’s nothing around to touch it’

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 520 KB
  • Print Length: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (23 Feb 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099540126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099540120
  • ASIN: B0038AUYB4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of ten novels, including Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters and Arthur & George; two books of short stories, Cross Channel and The Lemon Table; and also three collections of journalism, Letters from London, Something to Declare, and The Pedant in the Kitchen.

His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert's Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). In 1993 he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original perspective on "history" 20 Jan 2006
By A Customer
What a great read! Original and quirky without the irritation of pretension. This novel manages to make you think about history and how it is presented apparently without effort (though I'm not at all sure it is without intention)yet avoids becoming too heavy or bogged down simply by changing the subject every chapter. Starting with story of Noah as never before seen and working his forward gives the author ample scope for choice which he deftly uses to gives us tales of a biblical, historical and personal nature apparently as the whim took him, their only connecting feature being repeated references to the ark, and curiously, to woodworm.
This said, I feel the author is trying to make us think about the way history is told, percieved and perhaps created.
If you fancy somehting engaging and different, you could do a lot worse than this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ironic and humourous critique of society. 11 Jun 2001
By A Customer
I was determined to hate this book. Being forced to read it for A Level has condemned many other books, but Julian Barnes caught me out. This is a truly remarkable novel and one which will get you thinking about yourself and the people around you. It mixes iconaclasm and irony to perfection. I defy anyone to dislike the modren day classic!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as Barnes was not afraid to tackle controversial issues and did so in such a way you couldn't help but share his views. I have never known a writer to seriously look at how we treat animals (chap 3) and it pleased me that not eveyone saw them as just here for our own benefit. Out of the whole book, my favourite "chapter" has to be the half chapter, the parenthesis. It was so beautifully written, Barnes actually achieved with prose what he clamied was impossible. He wrote perfect "love prose" that stirred me to tears and smiles with each word. And for once it seems we see Barnes without his many masks! I recommend you read this book at once because it will frustrate, warm and educate you, make you realise things about yourself and others and see the history of the world in a whole new light. A MUST! It certainly changed my life.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No half measures 3 Aug 2005
Julian Barnes is a former lexicographer and journalist whose novels have earned that most elusive cachet - critical acclaim from both the English and French side of the Channel. His 1984 work, "Flaubert's Parrot", is part travelogue, part literary criticism: its narrator, Geoffrey Braithwaite, journeys through France and his own autobiographical detail, painting a novel in a pastiche of narrative forms.
Barnes felt he had found a substantial vehicle in Braithwaite and considered having him write a guide to the bible - an acerbic, agnostic travelogue through its pages. Instead, he developed "A History of the World in 10½ Chapters", beginning with the conceit of seeing history as re-beginning with Noah's Ark.
Barnes' first chapter presents the unexpurgated story of the Ark. How could one small ship have carried the Earth's vast variety of animal life? He has Noah as admiral of a flotilla of ships. The bible, here, is propaganda, fudging the truth in favour of a good story. He creates a paradigm for historical enquiry: all history is partial, is told from a particular perspective; all history involves editing out what the historian sees as chaff; if the bible doesn't give you the whole story, who can you believe. History, then, is a perspective, never a fundamentalist truth.
History, of course, is written by the victors, is written from the perspective of those with the power to claim that their vision of the truth is the only coherent, logical one. While the image of all formal world histories is that the author has encapsulated the truth of human life, Barnes presents history as a personal interpretation. His history of the Ark is written from the perspective of the powerless. It is the voice of the dispossessed, made no less emphatic by its fictional form.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition - poor editing 7 Sep 2010
By mtgf
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a review of the Kindle edition of Julian Barnes' book. The book itself I would give 4 stars.

I bought the kindle edition as an experiment to see about reading ebooks on holiday. My dissatisfaction is about the editing of the book. It appeared to have been scanned but not spell checked or proofed. So often 'I' was replaced by '/'. Many of the errors would have been picked up by a spell checker others I would guess would be common misprints from scanning that could be systematically identified. I had the paperback from many years back and checking when I came back confirmed that it contained a reproduction of the Gericault 'Raft of the Medusa' as an illustration. It was a pity that the ebook omitted this.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting take on history 2 Aug 2006
We all take history to be factual; well, I did anyway! Then I grew up a bit, and realised that there are two sides to every story. Julian Barnes cleverly presents a third viewpoint - one that might have happened, set in a brilliantly quirky and yet astonishingly believable perspective. I was so taken with the chapter on the Wreck of the Medusa, I went to visit the actual painting in the Louve, Paris, and marvelled at how Barnes had come up with his version of events. Well worth a read. In fact, read it two or three times!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars an odd mix
Strong nd entertaining opening. Recognisable theme throughout different chapters but hated some parts. Unengaging tedious and pretentious. Struggled to get to end
Published 11 days ago by Sylvia M. Bestwick
2.0 out of 5 stars History of the world
I read this some years ago and my impression was that the author thought he was wonderful.

The only story I remember from this collection loosely placed through time, is... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Clare O'Beara
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant & well worth reading!
The book is basically what it says on the cover: Ten-and-a-half short chapters, which together cover a lot of ground. Read more
Published 3 months ago by
3.0 out of 5 stars Uni work
I had to read this book for University studies. It was OK, not the best I've read but not the worst either! :)
Published 4 months ago by Maya Haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I love this book. Julian Barnes is an ace writer. He has a wonderful style. I particularly like the last chapter.
Published 4 months ago by Mr Terry Lawlor
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Love the re-working of classic stories. The story of Noah and his arc told through the eyes of insects is very clever. All the short stories are sharp, witty and true. Read more
Published 5 months ago by murray
This book is quite hard to classify. There is history, but in an odd way. It seems a collection of stories, but with a connection to Noah and woodworm. Read more
Published 5 months ago by bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
The book was something I was after for a while. Finally found it in great condition and at the right price. Thanks
Published 6 months ago by Brian Leveson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as suggested
This was not the humorous read which the cover led me to expect.Maybe I am missing something here, but I didn't laugh.
Published 7 months ago by Mr Bruce Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Emily
A good book. A reading group choice so plenty to talk about! Enigmatic and very well written. Often funny and definitely one to ponder when done.
Published 7 months ago by Emily
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We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us. &quote;
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(And does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce? No, that’s too grand, too considered a process. History just burps, and we taste again that raw-onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago.) &quote;
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Our current model for the universe is entropy, which at the daily level translates as: things fuck up. &quote;
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