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 by Julian Barnes
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2011, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2012, 240 pages

  • 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

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Lincoln in the Bardo
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders
    George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo is a philosophy discourse brilliantly disguised as a ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tender
    by Belinda McKeon
    Most of us have heard the slightly trite saying: "If you love something, set it free." But one can ...
  • Book Jacket
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

The first book by an American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    I See You
    by Clare Mackintosh

    A dark and compelling thriller about an everyday woman trapped in the confines of her everyday world.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Fifth Petal
    by Brunonia Barry

    Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Anagrams

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

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.