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Nothing to Be Frightened of (Vintage International)by Julian Barnes
Synopses & Reviews
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.
A NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A memoir on mortality as only Julian Barnes can write it, one that touches on faith and science and family as well as a rich array of exemplary figures who over the centuries have confronted the same questions he now poses about the most basic fact of life: its inevitable extinction. If the fear of death is “the most rational thing in the world,” how does one contend with it? An atheist at twenty and an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for, against, and with God, and at his own bloodline, which has become, following his parents death, another realm of mystery.
Deadly serious, masterfully playful, and surprisingly hilarious, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a riveting display of how this supremely gifted writer goes about his business and a highly personal tour of the human condition and what might follow the final diagnosis.
About the Author
Julian Barnes is the author of ten novels, two books of stories, two collections of essays, and a translation of Alphonse Daudets In the Land of Pain. His honors include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres by the French ministry of Culture. He lives in London.
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