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Julian Barnes's Quotes

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Born: 1946-01-19
Profession: Writer
Nation: English
Biography of Julian Barnes

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It took me some years to clear my head of what Paris wanted me to admire about it, and to notice what I preferred instead. Not power-ridden monuments, but individual buildings which tell a quieter story: the artist's studio, or the Belle Epoque house built by a forgotten financier for a just-remembered courtesan.

Tags: Artist, Tell, Wanted

Paris is certainly one of the most boastful of cities, and you could argue that it has had a lot to boast about: at various times the European centre of power, of civilisation, of the arts, and (self-advertisingly, at least) of love.

Tags: Love, Power, Times

Reading and life are not separate but symbiotic. And for this serious task of imaginative discovery and self-discovery, there is and remains one perfect symbol: the printed book.

Tags: Book, Life, Perfect

Reading is a majority skill but a minority art. Yet nothing can replace the exact, complicated, subtle communion between absent author and entranced, present reader.

Tags: Art, Between, Reading

All bad things are exaggerated in the middle of the night. When you lie awake, you only think of bad things.

Tags: Bad, Lie, Night

As I've explained to my wife many times, you have to kill your wife or mistress to get on the front page of the papers.

Tags: Mistress, Times, Wife

Books say: she did this because. Life says: she did this. Books are where things are explained to you, life where things aren't.

Tags: Books, Life, She

Do we tend to recall the most important parts of a novel or those that speak most directly to us, the truest lines or the flashiest ones?

Tags: Lines, Novel, Speak

Grief seems at first to destroy not just all patterns, but also to destroy a belief that a pattern exists.

Tags: Belief, Grief, Seems

I hate the way the English have of not being serious about being serious, I really hate it.

Tags: English, Hate, Serious

I have an instinct for survival, for self-preservation.

Tags: Instinct, Survival

I'm a complete democrat in terms of who buys my books.

Tags: Books, Complete, Democrat

I'm a novelist, so I can't write about ideas unless they're attached to people.

Tags: Ideas, Unless, Write

In 1980, I published my first novel, in the usual swirl of unjustified hope and justified anxiety.

Tags: Anxiety, Hope, Novel

In Britain I'm sometimes regarded as a suspiciously Europeanized writer, who has this rather dubious French influence.

Tags: Influence, Rather, Sometimes

Most of us remember adolescence as a kind of double negative: no longer allowed to be children, we are not yet capable of being adults.

Tags: Children, Negative, Remember

Often the grind of book promotion wearies you of your own book - though at the same time this frees you from its clutches.

Tags: Book, Often, Time

The land of embarrassment and breakfast.

Tags: Breakfast, Land

The ways in which a book, once read, stays (and changes) in the reader's mind are unpredictable.

Tags: Book, Mind, Once

There will always be non-readers, bad readers, lazy readers - there always were.

Tags: Bad, Lazy, Readers

To look at ourselves from afar, to make the subjective suddenly objective: this gives us a psychic shock.

Tags: Objective, Ourselves, Suddenly

Very few of my characters are based on people I've known. It is too constricting.

Tags: Characters, Few, Known

Well, to be honest I think I tell less truth when I write journalism than when I write fiction.

Tags: Honest, Tell, Truth
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What is taken away is greater than the sum of what was there. This may not be mathematically possible; but it is emotionally possible.

Tags: Away, May, Possible

When you read a great book, you don't escape from life, you plunge deeper into it.

Tags: Book, Great, Life

I am death-fearing. I don't think I'm morbid. That seems to me a fear of death that goes beyond the rational. Whereas it seems to me to be entirely rational to fear death!

Tags: Death, Fear, Seems

I was initially planning to write about grief in terms of Eurydice and the myth thereof. By that point the overall metaphor of height and depth and flat and falling and rising was coming into being in my mind.

Tags: Mind, Point, Write

Iconic Paris tells us: here are our three-star attractions, go thou and marvel. And so we gaze obediently at what we are told to gaze at, without exactly asking why.

Tags: Here, Paris, Why

In an oppressive society the truth-telling nature of literature is of a different order, and sometimes valued more highly than other elements in a work of art.

Tags: Art, Nature, Work
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