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 X
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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

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.