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Pulse (2011)

by Julian Barnes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4942648,897 (3.64)31
A volume of fourteen stories about loss, friendship, and longing includes the tales of a recently divorced real-estate agent who invades a reticent girlfriend's privacy, a couple that meets over an illicit cigarette, and a widower who struggles to let go of grief.
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» See also 31 mentions

English (25)  Catalan (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Barnes is one of my favorite authors and there are a few gems here. The waitress. The dinner party conversations. Perhaps I would have not listened one after the other, but I got a bit bored with the narrator’s tone. The world-weary Britishness of it was a bit much and not appropriate for all stories. Stilling worth a read in these dark times of Covid lockdown. ( )
  kjuliff | Jan 20, 2023 |
I enjoyed Barnes's case studies of imperfect or failing relationships and human frailty. The series of over-dinner dialogues with very wordy middle class chatterboxes "At Phil and Joanna's" was not as fun. ( )
  adzebill | Jun 20, 2021 |
Solid collection, Barnes is best when novel length; some of the humour and language a little forced in places but there are classic Barnes observations throughout. “Marriage Lines” and Pulse” the two best entries. Barnes is truly admirable in his devoted query of love and relationships, he is unflinching yet compassionate. A bit commonplace for Barnes, no risks and no rewards overall. Going for poignancy but occasionally ends up a bit treacle. ( )
  saschenka | Jul 24, 2020 |
I beg to differ from the opinions on the review pages of the English press, the kinds of things I guess one can predict about such a solid figure in the literary department. 'Literary pearls' not. 'The very best short fiction'. I don't think so. 'Masterclasses in the form'. Nup.

This collection is plain disappointing compared with as a fine modern exponent of the short story as, say, Michael Chabon. The observations on life are neither here nor there and delivered without either the wit or the humour, not to mention the exquisite technique of Chabon. Barnes should stick to novels. This is the second time I've been disappointed lately by his stepping out into other areas.

I'm not even sure how he misses the mark. Maybe that his characters are all such miserable sods without any of the counterbalances that one finds in Chabon's stories - or Mansfield's or Chekhov's, for that matter. It's sort of like having to put up with Neil of The Young Ones without anybody else ever coming on stage. Too much of a downer, man. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
I beg to differ from the opinions on the review pages of the English press, the kinds of things I guess one can predict about such a solid figure in the literary department. 'Literary pearls' not. 'The very best short fiction'. I don't think so. 'Masterclasses in the form'. Nup.

This collection is plain disappointing compared with as a fine modern exponent of the short story as, say, Michael Chabon. The observations on life are neither here nor there and delivered without either the wit or the humour, not to mention the exquisite technique of Chabon. Barnes should stick to novels. This is the second time I've been disappointed lately by his stepping out into other areas.

I'm not even sure how he misses the mark. Maybe that his characters are all such miserable sods without any of the counterbalances that one finds in Chabon's stories - or Mansfield's or Chekhov's, for that matter. It's sort of like having to put up with Neil of The Young Ones without anybody else ever coming on stage. Too much of a downer, man. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Mr. Barnes’s latest collection, “Pulse,” is filled with both gems and should-have-been discards. The title story and “Marriage Lines” are beautiful, elegiac tales about how marriages endure or change over time: stories that attest to the new emotional depth Mr. Barnes discovered in his 2004 collection “The Lemon Table.” Unfortunately, many other entries in this volume are brittle exercises in craft: a writer writing on automatic pilot, substituting verbal facility for genuine humor or real feeling, a scattering of social details for a persuasive sense of time and place.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julian Barnesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Im vorigen November war eine Reihe hölzerner Strandhütten, deren Farbe der steife Ostwind weggefetzt hatte, bis auf den Grund abgebrannt.
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He had thought he could recapture, and begin to say farewell. He had thought grief might be assuaged, or if not assuaged, at least speeded up, hurried on its way a little, by going back to a place where they had been happy. But he was not in charge of grief. Grief was in charge of him. And in the months and years ahead, he expected grief to teach him many other things as well. This was just the first of them.
He told Calum the story he was already weary with repeating. The sudden tiredness, the dizzy spells, the blood tests, the scans, hospital, more hospital, the hospice. The speed of it all, the process, the merciless tramp of events. He told it without tears, in a neutral voice, as if it might have happened to someone else. It was the only way, so far, that he knew how.
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A volume of fourteen stories about loss, friendship, and longing includes the tales of a recently divorced real-estate agent who invades a reticent girlfriend's privacy, a couple that meets over an illicit cigarette, and a widower who struggles to let go of grief.

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