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From the Publisher"Death has a habit of bringing the best out in writers…Given its subject matter the whole book has an unexpectedly jaunty air. On virtually every page there is a good joke, even when – or perhaps especially when – Barnes is writing about the grimmest events. Julian Barnes is wonderful at keeping awe and flippancy in perfect balance…One of the joys of this book is that it contains so many playful asides, so many exhilaration diversions from its gloomy central theme."
—Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
"It is not, Barnes tells us, an autobiography. It is rather an essay in the best sense: speculative and precise, intimate and metaphysical, capacious and democratic in the variety of voices, alive and dead, that are invited to counsel the author as he edges his way towards the void"
—Brian Dillon, Times Literary Supplement
"Julian Barnes is a delightful companion and much of the book (its informal tone included) is like an extended and very interesting conversation."
—Cressida Connolly, Literary Review
"Compelling…witty and erudite…consistently interesting and entertaining."
—Val Hennessy, Daily Mail
"This book is both fun and funny. It is sharp, too, in the sense of painful as well as witty…You are in the presence of a nimble mind in complete mastery of, and engagement with, his chosen subject."
—Lucy Beresford, New Statesman
—Jane Shilling, The Times
"Entertaining, intriguing, absorbing and so expansive that I was startled, on finishing, to note its brevity…Irresistible reading."
—Penelope Lively, Financial Times
"Superb…[Barnes’s] funniest and frankest work yet."
—Kate Summerscale, Daily Telegraph