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

"He only twinkled at me."
           
"Alice! I saw you with my own eyes perched on his knee."
           
Alice gave a tight smile. She could remember it all quite clearly: someone's flat in Little Venice, the usual faces, a Byrds LP playing, a background smell of dope, the famous visiting writer, her own sudden forwardness. "I perched, as you put it, on his knee. And he twinkled at me. End of story."
           
"But you told me..."
         
"No I didn't."
           
"But you let me understand..."
           
"Well, one has one's pride."
           
"You mean?"
           
"I mean he said he had an early start the next day. Paris, Copenhagen, wherever. Book tour. You know."
           
"The headache excuse."
           
"Precisely."
           
"Well," said Jane, trying to hide a sudden surge of jauntiness, "I've always believed that writers get more out of things going wrong than things going right. It's the only profession in which failure can be put to good use."
           
"I don't think ‘failure' exactly describes my moment with John Updike."
           
"Of course not, darling."
           
"And you are, if you don't mind my saying so, coming on a little like a self-help book. Or like you sound on Woman's Hour, brightly telling others how to live."
           
"Am I?"
           
"The point is, even if personal failure can be properly transformed into art, it still leaves you where you were when you started."
           
"And where's that?"
           
"Not having slept with John Updike."
           
"Well, if it's any consolation, I'm jealous of him twinkling at you."
           
"You're a friend," Alice replied, but her tone betrayed her.
           
They fell silent. Some large station went by.
           
"Was that Swindon?" Jane asked, to make it sound as if they weren't quarrelling.
           
"Probably."
           
"Do you think we have many readers in Swindon?" Oh, come on, Alice, don't get huffy on me. Or rather, don't let's get huffy on one another.
           
"What do you think?"
           

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 Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...
  • Book Jacket: Complicit
    Complicit
    by Stephanie Kuehn
    When seventeen year-old Jamie Henry receives word that his older sister Cate, is being released from...

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

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  153The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Who Said...

He has only half learned the art of reading who has not added to it the more refined art of skipping and skimming.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O O T F P, Into T F

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.