The Reading Nook – Julian Barnes

I have been a fan of Julian Barnes for years and was delighted that he won the Man Booker Prize last year for his short novel – The Sense of an Ending. He has written several novels over the course of many years. While all his book are worth reading in my opinion, here are just some of my highlights.

I particularly loved Flaubert’s Parrot – described as Barnes’ breakthrough novel it’s about an English doctor’s obsession with Gustave Flaubert and his use of Flaubert’s writings to make sense of his own life. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

A History of the World in 10 and a half Chapters is one of those books that I have never forgotten after reading it. In fact I still find myself thinking about it at random moments. An irreverent mix of fiction and history it attempts to answer many of the great questions of why we are here.

England, England is about an eccentric’s idea to create a theme park on the Isle of Wight which represents England and all its major tourist attractions. Secrets emerge along the way and this is definitely one of his novels where Barnes seems to be enjoying himself the whole way along.

Arthur & George seems to be Barnes’ first foray into detective fiction where he climbs into the head of Conan Doyle and does a really impressive job. I managed to leave this book on a plane after a long flight so had the extra suspense of having to wait until I came back from holidays to read the ending.

The Sense of an Ending: The latest from Barnes and the book which earned him the Man Booker (although I would argue that at least two of the list above could have earned it for him). A short novella about a middle aged man reminscing on his life and stirring up the past only to start to find out things that were probably best left untouched.

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