The Porcupine by Julian Barnes, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Porcupine

The Porcupine

by Julian Barnes
     
 

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In his latest novel, Julian Barnes, author of Talking It Over and A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, trains his laser-bright prose on the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

Stoyo Petkanov, the deposed Party leader, is placed on trial for crimes that range from corruption to political murder. Petkanov's guilt — and the

Overview

In his latest novel, Julian Barnes, author of Talking It Over and A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, trains his laser-bright prose on the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

Stoyo Petkanov, the deposed Party leader, is placed on trial for crimes that range from corruption to political murder. Petkanov's guilt — and the righteousness of his opponents — would seem to be self-evident. But, as brilliantly imagined by Barnes, the trial of this cunning and unrepentant dictator illuminates the shadowy frontier between the rusted myths of the Communist past and a capitalist future in which everything is up for grabs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Barnes's novels have a mesmeric charm and an air of dangerous simplicity .... [He is] an exceptionally accomplished and ingenious stylist."
— The New York Review of Books

"Gripping ... Barnes relates this compelling story with his usual narrative brio, sketching his characters with the broad, colorful strokes of a mythic allegory."
— The New York Times

"Barnes is a dazzling mind in mercurial flight."
— Philadelphia Inquirer

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Interesting but finally bloodless, this novel finds the deposed Communist president of an Eastern European country put on trial for the crimes he committed during his 33-year iron rule. (Oct.) Also in October, Vintage International will reissue Barnes's Staring at the Sun . ($10 *-74820-2 ), which tracks the relentlessly curious Jean Serjeant from her childhood in 1920s England to her flight into the sun in the year 2021. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The upheavals that have recenty rocked Eastern Europe provide the inspiration for Barnes's ( Flaubert's Parrot , LJ 4/1/85) latest novel, an intelligent, if strangely passionless, examination into the nature of political reality. It focuses primarily on the interaction between two men, former Communist party head Stoyo Petkanov, for 33 years the leader of his nation, and Peter Solinsky, newly appointed chief prosecutor for ``justice.'' Rather than adopt a meek, defensive posture, the recalcitrant party chief thrusts out some barbs of his own, suggesting that the new leadership is no less susceptible to lies and hypocrisy than his own government was. In any given circumstance, Barnes implies, it is simply fate that determines who becomes the accuser and who the accused. Unfortunately, Barnes's success in exploring the mind-set of a Marxist-Leninist hard-liner must be set against the story's overall pallidness. A short, interesting work for those not driven by a need for lots of action or high drama. For larger academic and public collections.-- David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679744825
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Series:
Vintage International Series
Edition description:
1st Vintage International edition
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
652,330
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Born in Leicester in 1946, Julian Barnes is the author of nine novels, a book of stories, and a collection of essays. He has won both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina, and in 1988 was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
London, England
Date of Birth:
January 19, 1946
Place of Birth:
Leicester, England
Education:
Degree in modern languages from Magdalen College, Oxford, 1968

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