Synopses & Reviews
In his first collection of short stories, Barnes explores the narrow body of water containing the vast sea of prejudice and misapprehension which lies between England and France with acuity humor, and compassion. For whether Barnes's English characters come to France as conquerors or hostages, laborers, athletes, or aesthetes, what they discover, alongside rich food and barbarous sexual and religious practices, is their own ineradicable Englishness. The ten stories that make up Cross Channel introduce us to a plethora of intriguing, original, and sometimes ill-fated characters. Elegantly conceived and seductively written, Cross Channel is further evidence of Barnes's wizardry.
"Ever since the publication some years ago of his beguiling and original Flaubert's Parrot,Julian Barnes has staked his claim to the literary heritage of Nabokov. This smart collection of short stories only adds to his patrimony. Barnes's prose is always a delight to read, not only for the imagination and simplicity of the tale, but for the sheer lyricism and intelligence of the page. This writer, clearly, is a master. Though Barnes's new stories are amazingly diverse, each takes up an aspect of the British experience of France: royal mercenaries attack a Protestant village in the south of France; two frumpy spinsters bring their English anxieties to a run-down vineyard near Bordeaux; an oldish writer journeys to Paris in the year 2015. Fresh and enjoyable and aesthetically just, this collection begs to be read and savored and read again by anyone with a fondness for France or fine literary craftsmanship." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
About the Author
Julian Barnes was born in Leicester in 1946 and educated in London and Oxford. He worked as a lexicographer on the Oxford English Dictionary, then as a journalist for the New Statesman, the Sunday Times and the Observer. He is the author of eight novels, a collection of essays, a book of short stories, and is the first Englishman to have won both the Prix Medicis and the Prix Femina. In 1988 he was made a Chevalier and in 1995 he became an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.