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

  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta read!
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman: http://www.worldbuilders.org/our-next-stretch-goal-unlocks-at/neil-gaiman-reads-green-eggs-and-ham)
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here: http://advice.uk.match.com/dating-advice/enjoy-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-and-get-mentallydating?utm_expid=55691082-15.2L0G0ictTcSJ4BI9Srh77A.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fadvice.uk.match.com%2Fdating-advice)
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • 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