SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

Nothing To Be Frightened Of, by Julian Barnes

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Nothing to Be Frightened of, by Julian Barnes (Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 2, 2008)

Julian Barnes slices the subject of death open as cleanly and as deeply as a professional forensic pathologist. Not one angle, not one idea stays untouched. He writes what most of us simply do not want to hear or think about. But it’s not all down-beat. Writing about death means writing about life leading up to it. The descriptions of people’s interesting lives and ways of coping with impending death are fascinating. It is still a discomforting read, but really, really well done – not a word out of place, not a superfluous, phrase or concept, each idea neatly segueing into the next one. You laugh at some witty anecdote, and in the next line, wham!, he drops a profoundly and distressingly accurate observation. It’s unavoidable – like literary bait-and-switch. (Continue reading...)

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