Julian Barnes

© Urszula Soltys

Julian Barnes (1946) is a renowned and award-winning British prose writer and essayist. His first novel Metroland was published in 1980, and he has written 13 novels in total. A History of the World in 101⁄2 Chapters (1998) is a fantastical and humorous fragmentarium in the postmodernist vein about life and death, where in addition to the human viewpoint you can also get an idea of the perspective of the woodworms attempting to get on Noah’s Ark. The Sense of an Ending (2011) deals with the reliability of the past, the durability of friendship and the inevitability of change. The novel won the prestigious Booker Prize, and several other works by Barnes have been nominated. The Noise of Time (2016) should attract anyone interested in recent history, especially those Estonians who still have first-hand memories of the Soviet Union. The novel describes the life of the famous composer Dmitri Shostakovich under the threatening glare of the Stalinist regime. Barnes aptly conveys the absurdity of the era as well as the personal suffering of people – compromises and fear, on the one hand, microscopic heroism on the other hand. Additionally, the novel raises universal paradoxes of a more timeless nature: we all tend to imagine we are greater than we actually are and conversely lead smaller lives than we imagine. Julian Barnes will talk to translator Jan Kaus.

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