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

  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • secret beta read 2
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • (Subterranean collection) John Scalzi
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
  • 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