Metroland

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Overview

Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of sexual awakening in the 1960s, and a portrait of the accommodations that some of us call "growing up" and others "selling out."

Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of ...

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Metroland

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Overview

Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of sexual awakening in the 1960s, and a portrait of the accommodations that some of us call "growing up" and others "selling out."

Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of sexual awakening in the 1960s, and a portrait of the accommodations that some of us call "growing up" and others "selling out." "Barnes writes like a dream."--Village Voice Literary Supplement.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Barnes writes like a dream."  --Village Voice Literary Supplement
Jay Parini
"One would have to look hard to find a wryer, more lovingly detailed account of intellectual and sexual innocence abroad...Metroland portrays at once the disturbing aspects of adulthood and the consolations of maturity, a balance that makes one glad Jullian Barnes is still young and still writing." -- The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679736080
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1992
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage International edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 639,513
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of nine novels, including Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters, England, England and Arthur and George, and two collections of short stories, Cross Channel and The Lemon Table.

Biography

Julian Barnes once told London's Observer that he writes fiction "to tell beautiful, exact, and well-constructed lies which enclose hard and shimmering truths." Indeed, this is what Barnes does, sometimes spiking his lies with fact -- most notably in Flaubert's Parrot, the novel that became his breakthrough book. The story of a retired doctor obsessed with the French author, it combines a literary detective story with a character study of its detective, including facts about Flaubert along the way.

Before Flaubert's Parrot propelled him into the company of Ian McEwan and Martin Amis in British authordom, Barnes had been moderately successful with the novels Metroland (which later became the 1997 movie starring Emily Watson and Christian Bale) and Before She Met Me. He was also known to Brits as a newspaper TV critic. Parrot and Barnes's subsequent "Letters from London" in The New Yorker helped expand the author's Stateside following.

"A lot of novelists set up a kind of franchise, and turn out a familiar product," friend and fellow author Jay McInerney told the Guardian in 2000. "But what I like about Jules's work is that he's like an entrepreneur who starts up a new company every time out." Among other ambitious themes, Barnes has explored the collapse of communism (The Porcupine) the Disneyfication of culture (England, England), the simple dynamics of relationships (Talking It Over and its sequel, Love, Etc.), and the connections between art, religion, and death (The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters).

Barnes has also produced collections of essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet's In the Land of Pain, and a family memoir (Nothing to Be Frightened Of) that also serves as a meditation on mortality.

Good To Know

In 2000, a cybersquatting professor acquired the Internet rights to julianbarnes.com and several other authors' domain names; Barnes later won his name back, and the domain is now an informational site run by a fan with Barnes's permission. Barnes had protested the professor's actions, accusing him of usurpation; but his opponent might have responded by quoting from Barnes's own (albeit satirical) England, England: "Indeed, wasn't there something old-fashioned about the whole concept of ownership, or rather its acquisition by formal contract, in which title is received in exchange for consideration given?.... It would have been unfair to call Sir Jack Pitman a barbarian, though some did; but there stirred within him a longing to revisit pre-classical, pre-bureaucratic methods of acquiring ownership. Methods such as theft, conquest and pillage, for example."

Barnes wrote four mystery novels under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh, all of which are now out of print; the novels starred Duffy, a bisexual ex–police officer. Kavanagh's bio read in part: "Having devoted his adolescence to truancy, venery and petty theft, he left home at seventeen and signed on as a deckhand on a Liberian tanker." Kavanagh also happens to be the last name of Barnes's agent and wife, Pat.

Barnes was a deputy literary editor under Martin Amis at the New Statesman from 1980–82 and was also a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. Amis and Barnes later had a falling-out that became fodder for the press when Amis wrote about it in his memoir, Experience; Barnes is mum on the subject, but the disagreement arose when Amis defected from Barnes's wife to another agent.

Barnes has a cameo in the film Bridget Jones's Diary as himself, but in a lesser role than he has in Helen Fielding's book. In the book, Bridget is flummoxed upon encountering Barnes and embarrasses herself; but the more recognizable Salman Rushdie was substituted for Barnes in the film version.

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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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2002

    A Land of Suburbs Better than a 'Field of Rye'...

    I happen to be a future critic of literature...But I think that's just bragging...I want to give you 'an epat',as Barnes puts it,and that's because I'm rather young.Anyway I would like to share with everybody my impressions about Metroland and Julian Barnes.His book reminded me that tender book about adolescence which you perfectly know - The Catcher in the Rye .But I consider it to be an achievement because it is like an 'updated' version of Salinger's book.I would like to focus your minds on three episodes in the book which I liked above all:the visit at Uncle Charles,the meeting of Annick in Paris and the bedroom scene between the grown-up husbands when they confess they haven't been faithful to one another.This last scene is a proof which fiction gives us about woman's intuition.So,don't skip these three key scenes!If the author reads this not very subtle thoughts,I would ask him not to be disapointed,cause to me Julian Barnes is a writer that I respect,and I truly like...so even if his last book is poorer than the former,I would treat his literary brilliancy in the same way.Write your own reviews because GOOD BOOKS contain in them the huge amount of critical works that come after them(N.Frye).So,this means,that if you are writing about a book you enjoyed you are part of this book's own universe!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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