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Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse. This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world. A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre.
Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize and #1 international bestseller, The Sense of an Ending is a masterpiece. The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes's new novel is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world's most distinguished writers. Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget. Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?
Now a major film starring Academy Award nominees Jim Broadbent (Iris) and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011 Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove.
The Sense Of An Ending by Frank Kermode
Frank Kermode is one of our most distinguished critics of English literature. Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the book which brings his highly concentrated insights to bear on some of the most unyielding philosophical and aesthetic enigmas. Examining the works of writers from Plato to William Burrows, Kermode shows how they have persistently imposed their "fictions" upon the face of eternity and how these have reflected the apocalyptic spirit. Kermode then discusses literature at a time when new fictive explanations, as used by Spenser and Shakespeare, were being devised to fit a world of uncertain beginning and end. He goes on to deal perceptively with modern literature with "traditionalists" such as Yeats, Eliot, and Joyce, as well as contemporary "schismatics," the French "new novelists," and such seminal figures as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett. Whether weighing the difference between modern and earlier modes of apocalyptic thought, considering the degeneration of fiction into myth, or commenting on the vogue of the Absurd, Kermode is distinctly lucid, persuasive, witty, and prodigal of ideas.
All Art Is Propaganda by George Orwell
As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead. All Art Is Propaganda follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as "Politics and the English Language" and "Rudyard Kipling" and gems such as "Good Bad Books," here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, "how to be interesting, line after line."
The Only Story by Julian Barnes
From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending, an achingly profound love story between a young man on the cusp of adulthood and a woman whose life is gradually moving in the opposite direction. Most of us have only one story to tell. I don't mean that only one thing happens to us in our lives: there are countless events, which we turn into countless stories. But there's only one that matters, only one finally worth telling. This is mine. It is the early 1960s, in a staid suburb fifteen miles south of London. Paul, home from university for the holidays, is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. At the mixed doubles tournament he is partnered with Mrs. Susan Macleod: she's more than twice his age, and the married mother of two nearly grown-up daughters. Soon Paul and Susan embark on an unconventional affair, despite the disapproval of Paul's parents and the seething resentment of Susan's husband. First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at nineteen. But as he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen. Wryly observant and devastatingly tender, The Only Story is a profound, contemplative novel by one of fiction's greatest mappers of the human heart.
Nothing To Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes
"I don’t believe in God, but I miss him." So begins Julian Barnes’s brilliant new book that is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his brother (a philosopher), a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the writer Jules Renard. Barnes also draws poignant portraits of the last days of his parents, recalled with great detail, affection and exasperation. Other examples he takes up include writers, "most of them dead and quite a few of them French," as well as some composers, for good measure. The grace with which Barnes weaves together all of these threads makes the experience of reading the book nothing less than exhilarating. Although he cautions us that "this is not my autobiography," the book nonetheless reveals much about Barnes the man and the novelist: how he thinks and how he writes and how he lives. At once deadly serious and dazzlingly playful, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a wise, funny and constantly surprising tour of the human condition. From the Hardcover edition.
Talking Pictures by Ann Hornaday
A veteran film critic offers a lively, opinionated guide to thinking and talking about movies--from Casablanca to Clueless Whether we are trying to impress a date after an art house film screening or discussing Oscar nominations among friends, we all need ways to look at and talk about movies. But with so much variety between an Alfred Hitchcock thriller and a Nora Ephron romantic comedy, how can everyday viewers determine what makes a good movie? In Talking Pictures, veteran film critic Ann Hornaday walks us through the production of a typical movie--from script and casting to final sound edit--and explains how to evaluate each piece of the process. How do we know if a film has been well-written, above and beyond snappy dialogue? What constitutes a great screen performance? What goes into praiseworthy cinematography, editing, and sound design? And what does a director really do? In a new epilogue, Hornaday addresses important questions of representation in film and the industry and how this can, and should, effect a movie-watching experience. Full of engaging anecdotes and interviews with actors and filmmakers, Talking Pictures will help us see movies in a whole new light-not just as fans, but as film critics in our own right.
Flaubert S Parrot by Julian Barnes
A kind of detective story, relating a cranky amateur scholar's search for the truth about Gustave Flaubert, and the obsession of this detective whose life seems to oddly mirror those of Flaubert's characters. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Professor S House by Willa Cather
“An inquiry into the nature of civilization, of man’s impulse to civilize and create,” from the beloved author of O Pioneers! (The New Criterion). After completing his masterwork and garnering a great deal of money for it, history professor Godfrey St. Paul has purchased a new house. But when the time comes to move, he cannot bring himself to do so. Sitting in his comfortable study in his current house near the shore of Lake Michigan—and on the verge of a midlife crisis—he reflects on his past. At fifty-two, he has dedicated himself to his work, his garden, and his wife and two daughters, but despite all of his successes, he is unhappy with the course of his future. He retreats into his memories—his career and fond recollections of Tom Outland, his most outstanding student and once his son-in-law-to-be, who was lost in the Great War. He also thinks of his present and the daunting mystery of what lies ahead. And soon the introspection takes over . . . “The Professor’s House is Cather’s masterpiece. It is almost perfectly constructed, peculiarly moving, and completely original.” —A. S. Byatt, The Guardian