Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barnes' finger is firmly on the pulse of humna emotions., 20 Jan 2012
By 
This review is from: Pulse (Paperback)
This is the first collection of Julian Barnes' short stories that I have read, having previously enjoyed Arthur and George. This is an exceptionally enjoyable and diverse collection that frequently hits notes of beauty along the way.

Overall, these stories have a wide variety of starting points and settings, although there are recurring characters in the four "At Phil and Joanna" stories that are interleaved into the first half of the book. The "Phil and Joanna" stories follow the conversations of a group of friends attending dinner parties at a number of occasions. The speakers aren't identified, leaving the reader to work out whose voice is whose, and they have a realistic feel whilst also being very funny.

Whilst there humour to be found within the other stories, there is a sense of loneliness or loss running through a number of the stories. Whilst the story "Marriage Lines" focuses more explicitly on bereavement, it is often more subtly explored in the other stories. Barnes introduces us to a range of characters who have found themselves isolated either by through circumstances beyond them, or inadvertently of their own making. So, we are introduced to a pair of mid-list female novelists competing against each other but with no one to go home to in "Sleeping with John Updike"; we meet a rambler struggling to find a soul-mate in "Trespass"; "The Limner" is about a deaf portrait painter; and in "Harmony" features a pianist being treated for her loss of sight. My personal favourite was "Gardner's Questions", which focuses on a domestic tiff about what to do when a couple acquire a house with a garden for the first time. The characters are always well drawn, the narrators voice works well in each story and these are stories that are frequently moving.

Ultimately the stories are all well put together and it would be difficult to pick out a truly dud story, although I found "Carcassonne" and "Complicity" slightly less enjoyable than other stories. The stories in this volume don't end with a bang nor will get the readers' pulse racing - instead they are more low-key and successfully say much about human relationships and our own private worlds.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.6 out of 5 stars (55 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (22)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (12)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
£8.99 £6.29
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 17,971