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Barnes Image Copyright Isolde OhlbaumBorn in Leicester, England, in 1946, Julian Barnes is the author of several books of stories, essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet’s In the Land of Pain, and numerous novels. His recent publications include The Sense of an Ending, winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, Through the Window: Seventeen Essays (and One Short Story), and Levels of Life.

In France, he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina, and in 2004 he became a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In England his honors include the Somerset Maugham Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He has also received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the San Clemente literary prize, and the Europese Literatuurprijs (2012). In 2011 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature. Awarded biennially, the prize honours a lifetime’s achievement in literature for a writer in the English language who is a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Also in 2011, Barnes won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sense of an Ending. He received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in 2013. He lives in London.

Barnes's most recent book is Levels of Life.

 


Julian Barnes on Georges Simenon
 

"Georges Simenon Returns." Times Literary Supplement, 7 May 2014. [On Penguin's reissue of Georges Simenon's works].

From the Essay:

"Penguin, Simenon’s British paperback publishers since 1952, have begun the admirable project of issuing, at the rate of one per month, new translations of all the Maigret novels, to be followed by some of the romans durs. Rereading the first six (all first published in 1931) confirms both how solidly imagined and carpentered Maigret’s world was; and also how far distant it now seems. It is a world that – even when colours are described – is rendered by the reader’s imagination in black and white: it exists in the monochrome of Jean Gabin movies (and the BBC series); also, the monochrome of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first photographs, which are contemporaneous with Maigret’s first cases. Here pipes are cleaned with chicken feathers; calling cards are delivered; horse traffic is still common, while cars contain flower-holders and “marquetry side pockets”; regional papers publish on a Sunday; and fingerprints are sent to Paris over the berlinograph. Maigret wears a bowler hat and an overcoat with a velvet collar, as well as a “celluloid protector” which cradles his tie-knot – all of which come as sartorial surprises (Rupert Davies definitely wore a soft hat of some fedora/homburg variety). When, in The Carter of La Providence, a man falls into a lock and is pulled out unconscious, one rescuer tries to bring him round by the method of tongue-traction: a rhythmical yanking on the waterlogged victim’s tongue. I hadn’t come across this form of artificial respiration since 1897, when it was used on Alphonse Daudet – for an hour and a half, long after he was clearly dead. Though it lacks any resuscitatory value, the technique had clearly lingered on as a folk remedy."

 
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
 

‘You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed...’ Julian Barnes's new book is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded him the 2011 Man Booker Prize described him as ‘an unparalleled magus of the heart’. This book confirms that opinion.

Order from Jonathan Cape (UK), Waterstones.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, BN.com, or a variety of Online and Independent Booksellers.

 
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