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.
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Cross Channel

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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.
Read More Show Less

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."
--New York Times

From Barnes & Noble
In his first book of short stories, Julian Barnes explores the striking theme of the British experience in France spanning a 300 year timeframe. These ten stories delve into the insistent attraction between these two countries spanning from the late 17th century to the year 2015.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307555441
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Series: Vintage International
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,309,719
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Julian Barnes
Julian Barnes was born in Leicester in 1946 and educated in London and Oxford. He worked as a lexicographer on the Oxford English Dictionary, then as a journalist for the New Statesman, the Sunday Times and the Observer. He is the author of eight novels, a collection of essays, a book of short stories, and is the first Englishman to have won both the Prix Medicis and the Prix Femina. In 1988 he was made a Chevalier and in 1995 he became an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
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    1. Also Known As:
      Dan Kavanagh
    2. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 19, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Leicester, England
    1. Education:
      Degree in modern languages from Magdalen College, Oxford, 1968

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