Nothing to Be Frightened Of: Book summary and reviews of Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes

Nothing to Be Frightened Of

By Julian Barnes

Nothing to Be Frightened Of
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2008,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

If the fear of death is "the most rational thing in the world," how does one contend with it? An atheist at twenty, an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for and against and with God, and at the bloodline whose archivist, following his parents’ death, he has become—another realm of mystery, wherein a drawer of mementos and his own memories (not to mention those of his philosopher brother) often fail to connect. There are other ancestors, too: the writers—"most of them dead, and quite a few of them French"—who are his daily companions, supplemented by composers and theologians and scientists whose similar explorations are woven into this account with an exhilarating breadth of intellect and felicity of spirit .

Deadly serious, masterfully playful, and surprisingly hilarious, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a riveting display of how this supremely gifted writer goes about his business and a highly personal tour of the human condition and what might follow the final diagnosis.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. If Barnes's self-professed "amateur" philosophical rambling feels occasionally self-indulgent, his vivid description delights. " - Publishers Weekly.

"Whether God and an afterlife exist is ultimately left up to the reader to decide. Recommended for academic and public libraries of all sizes." - Library Journal.

"Gentle and lucid - a welcome change from the polemical tone of so many books on the matter (or antimatter, if you like) of the big guy upstairs." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Julian Barnes Author Biography

Photo: Ellen Warner

Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England on January 19, 1946. He was educated at the City of London School from 1957 to 1964 and at Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated in modern languages (with honors) in 1968. After graduation, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary supplement for three years. In 1977, Barnes began working as a reviewer and literary editor for the New Statesmen and the New Review. From 1979 to 1986 he worked as a television critic, first for the New Statesmen and then for the Observer (London).

Barnes has received several awards and honors for his writing including the Somerset Maugham Award (Metroland 1981), three Booker Prize nominations (Flaubert's Parrot 1984, England, England 1998, Arthur & George 2005);...

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