Saturday, 14 April 2012

A to Z Challenge - Favourite Books - Metroland by Julian Barnes

Metroland by Julian Barnes.


Julian Barnes seems to be a Francophile the way I'm an Anglophile. Every time I read one of his books, with the characters extolling French music or culture or food, I relate to the sentiment and simply replace the object. Oh to be in England, now that April's there.

Have any of you read Julian Barnes' books? I tore through the first ten or so, and even read the seamier, not-as-well-written ones he penned under the name of Dan Kavanagh, but... Everything was ruined for me after I read England, England.

The story was so-so - the concept is that all of English culture is moved to the Isle of Wight, as a sort of theme park - but there's that one chapter... I think it even won an award the year the book was released, for the worst bedroom scene in a novel.

Is it possible to move on and read new books by an author who has left such a sour taste in your mouth? For me, it's been like finding out that a good friend is actually a liar and a cheat. And yet... I still have his last book, Booker-Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending, on my wishlist. I can't let go!

16 comments:

Zan Marie said...

I can't imagine a scene winning for the worst bedroom scene in a novel! Yikes! You're braver than I am, Deniz.

Talli Roland said...

Hmm. Sounds... interesting!

PS - How long will you be in London for?

Medeia Sharif said...

This is going on my wish list.

I had Barnes on my to-be-read list in college but never got around to reading him.

Carol Riggs said...

I haven't heard of this book or Julian Barnes, no! Interesting! But argh, yeah, on the one bad scene. Good analogy on the feeling of sour betrayal. I feel that way about some movies, too (if it just didn't have that ONE scene...).

stu said...

I sincerely hope it works, since my own published novels are of wildly varying quality. I haven't read Barnes' stuff though, but I vaguely like the Isle of Wight idea. Perhaps it came from that old factoid about everyone in the country being able to fit on it.

Old Kitty said...

I've not read him, but I will now! Yay! Take care
x

Deniz Bevan said...

I had no idea that scene was coming when I picked up the book, Zan Marie. It really grossed me out.

Sunday all day, Talli! And Monday morning, maybe. Wish it could be longer :-)

If you do read him, Medeia and Carol, make sure it's the older novels from 80s. Those are quite lovely.

I liked the idea lot, stu. I felt he could have done more with the novel...

Hope you like his other stuff, Kitty!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz .. some great friends read his books - and I really should try one - I will in due course ..

Thanks for reminding me about him .. and the warning re the Francophile bit .. cheers Hilary

Jemi Fraser said...

I am always so disappointed when I hit an awful scene or book by an author I've liked. I have dropped an author or 2 for that very reason!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for coming by, Hilary!

I'm glad it hasn't happened too often, Jemi!

Raelyn Barclay said...

I haven't read him but I have heard about that scene before, LOL. I have so many books on my TBR list even if I added Barnes I'm not sure I'd get around to reading him!

You're doing really well with the A to Z challenge :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks so much Raelyn!

Nas Dean said...

This is going on my wish list.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm a Francophile too, so I should check this out.

soggy in the corner said...

I suppose it is quite possible to do well with one idea and not with another?

Deniz Bevan said...

Hope you like it, Nas and Theresa!
I expect so, soggy. I still have his latest novels on my wishlist though.

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • The War of the Jewels - Book 11 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Hierophant by Lee-Ann Dalton (short story)
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • beta read!
  • Ode on Venice by Lord Byron (poem)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Lucky by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Little Miss Trouble by Roger Hargreaves (reread)
  • Homage to Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway (short story; reread but I really don't remember it after 20 years)
  • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (reread)
  • Sing a Long Children's Songs
  • Emily's First Christmas
  • Up At the Villa by Somerset Maugham (novella)
  • Telling Stories by Tim Burgess
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern
  • Sophie's Throughway by Jules Smith
  • Baby Animals (Little Golden Books)
  • The House That Jack Built (Little Golden Books)
  • Scuffy the Tugboat (Little Golden Books)
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant (Little Golden Books)
  • Morgoth's Ring - Book 10 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Who's A Pest by Crosby Bonsall
  • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • The Case of the Hungry Stranger by Crosby Bonsall (reread)
  • extracts from the diary of John Evelyn (Volume 1 of 2)
  • extracts from Lord Byron's letters about Villa Diodati
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig by Jean Little
  • Ite Missa Est by Anthony Martignetti
  • The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Red Angel by G. K. Chesterton (essay)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
  • The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was by the Brothers Grimm
  • The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (reread)
  • secret beta read!
  • Preludes by Wordsworth (extracts read aloud)
  • Little Miss Scatterbrain by Roger Hargreaves
  • Dance Me A Dream by Kait Nolan (ARC)
  • Once Upon A Coffee by Kait Nolan
  • England and Switzerland, 1802 by William Wordsworth (poem)
  • Once Upon A New Year's Eve by Kait Nolan
  • short story by Becky Morgan (http://forums.compuserve.com/discussions/Books_and_Writers_Community/Writers_Exercises/Becky_Morgans_December_X/ws-books/85291.1?nav=messages)
  • Blood In Blood Out by Brenda Novak (short story)
  • That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch (short story)
  • Distraction by J. L. Campbell
  • Humble Bundle Peanuts collection (strips by Charles Schulz)
  • Peanuts Volumes I to VI (bought via Humble Bundle; very disappointing as it's mostly new strips -- how is that even allowed?!)
  • Sandals and Sangria by Talli Roland (short story)
  • Over the Hump by Talli Roland (short story)
  • issues of Journal of Inklings Studies and Amon Hen and Mallorn (Tolkien Society)
  • Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier
  • Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Illusions Lost by Byron A. Maddox (short story)
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • Lost My Name book for Emily (https://www.lostmy.name/)
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne
  • When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne (reread)
  • Neil Gaiman comics on Sequential app
  • Moranology by Caitlin Moran
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2015/12/annual-books-read-statistics.html
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html