Excerpt from Pulse by Julian Barnes, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Pulse

Stories

By Julian Barnes

Pulse
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2011,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2012,
    240 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

           
"Mmm."
           
"Jane, what a question."
           
"Well, we're bound to be asked it sooner or later. The way everything's going."
           
"I've never been raped, if that's what you're asking. At least," Alice went on reflectively, "not what the courts would call rape."
           
"So?"
           
When Alice didn't answer, Jane said, "I'll look at the landscape while you're thinking." She gazed, with vague benignity, at trees, fields, hedgerows, livestock. She had always been a town person, and her interest in the countryside was largely pragmatic, a flock of sheep only signifying roast lamb.
           
"It's not something... obvious. But I'd say it was Simon."
           
"Simon as in the novelist or as in the publisher or as in Simon but you don't know him?"
           
"Simon the novelist. It was not long after I was divorced. He phoned up and suggested coming round. Said he'd bring a bottle of wine. Which he did. When it became pretty clear that he wasn't going to get what he'd come for, he corked up the rest of it and took the bottle home."
           
"What was it?"
           
"What do you mean?"
           
"Well, was it champagne?"
           
Alice thought for a moment. "It can't have been champagne because you can't get the cork back into the bottle. Do you mean was it French or Italian or white or red?"
           
Jane could tell from the tone that Alice was riled. "I don't know what I meant actually. That's bad."
           
"What's bad? Not remembering what you meant?"
           
"No, putting the cork back in the bottle. Really bad." She left an ex-actress's pause. "I suppose it might have been symbolic."
           
Alice giggled, and Jane could tell the moment had only been a hiccup. Encouraged, she put on her sitcom voice. "Got to laugh after a bit, haven't you?"
           
"I suppose so," replied Alice. "It's either that or get religion."
           
Jane might have let the moment pass. But Alice's reference to Buddhism had given her courage, and besides, what are friends for? Even so, she looked out of the window to confess. "Actually, I've got it, if you want to know. A little, anyway."
           
"Really? Since when? Or rather, why?"
           
"A year or two. It sort of makes sense of things. Makes it all feel less... hopeless." Jane stroked her handbag, as if it too needed consolation.

Excerpted from Pulse by Julian Barnes. Copyright © 2011 by Julian Barnes. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Selected Books by Julian Barnes

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  129Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.