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With brilliant wit, idiosyncratic intelligence, and a bold grasp of intricate political realities, the celebrated author of Flaubert's Parrot turns his satiric glance homeward to ...
With brilliant wit, idiosyncratic intelligence, and a bold grasp of intricate political realities, the celebrated author of Flaubert's Parrot turns his satiric glance homeward to England, in a sparkling collection of essays that illustrates the infinite variety of contemporary London life.
"An exceptionally accomplished an ingenious stylist." The New York Review of Books
Posted July 7, 2013
Julian Barnes was "invited" to be The New Yorker's London reporter in 1989, penning the magazine's Letters from London column. His predecessor, Mollie Panter-Downes, had worked the beat for nearly half a century beginning in 1939--tumultuous days for the island nation and the lady who told their story from a 15th century Tudor house in Surrey, near the capital. Barnes, himself a native Englishman, kept his reportorial notebook fired up for five years before departing in 1994; and then, no mistake about it, he left with notable distinction as this journalistic selection reveals. There is abundant variety in the assignments to engage us, something we naturally expect from a practiced letter writer. Barnes tackles everything from Margaret Thatcher's hard right-wing Tory crusade ("Mrs. Thatcher Remembers"), to Tom Keating's career as England's premier art forger ("Fake!"), to probing the story of the garden maze ("Year of the Maze"). There's also a flash of investigative reporting--and Barnes's indignation--in the Lloyds of London insurance market story ("The Deficit Millionaires"). A quarter century has passed since Barnes worked for The New Yorker and today he is a full-fledged man of letters where English is spoken. This delightful book helps explain why.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.