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

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

           
Jane flinched as a great wind blast from a train going in the opposite direction suddenly rocked them. Why on earth did they put the tracks so close together? And instantly her head was full of helicopter news footage: carriages jackknifed - they always used that verb, making it sound the more violent - trains strewn at the bottom of embankments, flashing lights, stretcher crews and, in the background, one carriage mounting another like mating metal. Quickly her mind ran on to plane crashes, mass slaughter, cancer, the strangling of old ladies who lived alone, and the probable absence of immortality. The God Who Approved of Things was powerless against such visions. She tipped the last of the cognac into her tea. She must get Alice to distract her.
           
"What are you thinking about?" she asked, timid as a firsttimer in a book-signing queue.
          
"Actually, I was wondering if you'd ever been jealous of me."
           
"Why were you wondering that?"
           
"I don't know. Just one of those stray thoughts that arrive."
           
"Good. Because it's hardly kind."
           
"Isn't it?"
           
"Well, if I admit I've been jealous of you, that makes me a mean-spirited friend. And if I say I haven't, it sounds as if I'm so smug I can't find anything in your life or your books worthy of jealousy."
           
"Jane, I'm sorry. Put like that - I'm a bitch. Apologies."
           
"Accepted. But since you ask..."
           
"Are you sure I want to hear this now?" Strange how there were still times when she underestimated Jane.
           
"...I don't know if 'jealous' is the right word. But I was envious as hell about the Mike Nichols thing - until it went away. And I was pretty furious when you slept with my husband, but that was anger not jealousy, I think."
           
"I suppose that was tactless of me. But he was your ex-husband by then. And back in those days everyone slept with everyone, didn't they?" Beneath such worldliness, Alice felt pressing irritation. This again? It wasn't as if they hadn't discussed it to death at the time. And afterwards. And Jane had written that bloody novel about it, claiming that "David" was just about to return to "Jill" when "Angela" intervened. What it didn't say in the novel was that it was two years, not two months, on, and by that time "David" was fucking half of west London as well as "Angela."
           
"It was tactless of you to tell me."
           
"Yes. I suppose I hoped you'd make me stop. I needed someone to make me stop. I was a mess at the time, wasn't I?" And they'd discussed that too. Why did some people forget what they needed to remember, and remember what was best forgotten?
           

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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

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

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: All of Us Villains
    All of Us Villains
    by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman
    All of Us Villains, the first release of a young adult dark fantasy series by Christine Lynn Herman ...
  • Book Jacket: Yonder
    Yonder
    by Jabari Asim
    The captivating historical novel Yonder turns an intimate lens towards the tragedy and survivorship ...
  • Book Jacket: Churchill's Shadow
    Churchill's Shadow
    by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
    Another book about Winston Churchill? Even with the astronomical number of titles written about the ...
  • Book Jacket: 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
    by Ai Weiwei
    Ai Weiwei is such an influential and innovative artist and activist that a memoir focused purely on ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
My Broken Language
by Quiara Alegría Hudes
A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a sprawling Puerto Rican family.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Free
    by Lea Ypi

    "Nothing short of a masterpiece."
    Publishers Weekly

  • Book Jacket

    The Paris Bookseller
    by Kerri Maher

    How a humble bookseller fought incredible odds to bring one of the 20th century's most important books to the world.

Who Said...

When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which ...

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

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A P O B Y Houses

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.