Cross Channel

Cross Channel

by Julian Barnes
     
 

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Combining the intellectual audacity of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters with the francophilia of the acclaimed Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes explores the English experience of France over the centuries with dazzling wit and sophistication. This is Barnes's first collection of stories. See more details below

Overview

Combining the intellectual audacity of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters with the francophilia of the acclaimed Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes explores the English experience of France over the centuries with dazzling wit and sophistication. This is Barnes's first collection of stories.

Editorial Reviews

James Marcus
To label this book a short-story collection is to considerably shortchange it. True, Cross Channel does consist of ten discrete narratives, each of which could stand on its own. In the end, though, this superb book functions as a single, unified work about the relationship of England with its nearest neighbor, France. As Barnes makes clear, the citizens of both countries have tended to regard each other with scornful fascination, and the author has ransacked three centuries of history to document this cross-channel rapport. In "Dragons," for example, British mercenaries descend upon a 17th-century village in southern France to forcibly convert the population to Catholicism. A hundred years later, when "Melons" takes place, the two nations still haven't kissed and made up: an international cricket tournament is hastily scuttled when the French Revolution begins. This tradition of mutual incomprehension continues clear through to 2015. At that point, the aging protagonist of "Tunnel" travels to France by train, recalling dozens of earlier trips across the channel. His ruminations contain the germs of all the preceding stories -- a typical bit of Barnesian trickery -- and they reveal, too, what the English finally have to gain from their French counterparts: "It was unhealthy to be idealistic about your own country, since the least clarity of vision led swiftly to disenchantment. Other countries therefore existed to supply the idealism: they were a version of pastoral." The existence of some Other Country, then, is not merely a headache, an escape, an enticement, but also an imaginative necessity. -- Salon
From the Publisher
"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." The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307555441
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/01/2010
Series:
Vintage International
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,213,348
File size:
2 MB

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