Book - 2011
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From a writer who's on a roll, fourteen stories that range freely through the historical past and contemporary life, touching on longing and love, loss and friendship, and a great many passions in between. It's the strongest collection yet from Julian Barnes.

From an imperial capital in the eighteenth century to Garibaldi's adventures in the nineteenth, from the vineyards of Italy to the English seaside in our time, Julian Barnes finds the "stages, transitions, arguments" that define us. A newly divorced real estate agent can't resist invading his reticent girlfriend's privacy, but the information he finds reveals only his callously shallow curiosity. A couple comes together through an illicit cigarette and a song shared over the din of a Chinese restaurant. A widower revisiting the Scottish island he'd treasured with his wife learns how difficult it is to purge oneself of grief. And throughout, friends gather regularly at dinner parties and perfect the art of cerebral, sometimes bawdy banter about the world passing before them. Whether domestic or extraordinary, each story pulses with the resonance, spark and poignant humor for which Barnes is justly heralded.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2011
ISBN: 9780307359605
Branch Call Number: BAR
Characteristics: 227 p. ;,22 cm


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Dec 28, 2016

This collection of short stories was as if I'd had a conversation with friends. There was a bit of gossip, some soul-searching, but mostly just a recounting of a day in the life of a friend. The stories were mildly entertaining and were as if I'd been visiting a friend and listening to an event or series of events in their lives.....nothing too serious.

Oct 10, 2015

Sublime book of short stories. I got my own copy. Such a great writer.

Apr 17, 2013

Barnes can write, but he has nothing to say. Banal and middle-class. The four stories at a dinner party were particularly annoying. Disappointing.

Apr 27, 2012

I loved The Lemon Table, Julian Barnes's other collection of stories, so was really looking forward to this book. I agree with The New York Times book reviewer, Michiki Kakutani, who said some of these should have been discards. In my opinion the best of these were not up to the weakest of his last collection.

BPLNextBestAdults Jul 20, 2011

Pulse is a new collection of 14 short stories by an elegant master of the form. These stories of mostly middle-aged British characters pulse with hope and optimism and demonstrate that Julian Barnes is an impeccable story teller.
The first nine stories resonate with humour and wit. The dinner-party conversations of a group of old friends are exposed as smug, middle-aged liberal elites. Barnes has captured the sharp dialogue exchanges between these upper-class British dinner guests with a wicked sense of style. The stories reveal the way people misunderstand one another because of the ambiguities that often exist between lovers and friends. The five stories in the second half of the book are skillfully and delicately rendered around the senses of hearing, sight, touch, and taste as people get closer to one another as they try to connect. Barnes explores the themes of love, loss and death with acute observations that are deeply affecting. Pulse is a gem of a collection written by a very well respected author.

Jun 04, 2011

major disappointment. I felt Barnes was just transcribing dinner conversation.

debwalker May 30, 2011

"Marriage and relationships are the main preoccupation of Pulse, Julian Barnes’ third story collection and 17th book. In most cases, these are the relationships of middle-aged, middle-class British people much like Julian Barnes himself, or awkward second attempts bearing the patina of past betrayals, divorces and personal failings."
Emily Donaldson
Toronto Star

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