Two years after the best-selling Arthur & George, Julian Barnes gives us a memoir on mortality that touches on faith and science and family as well as a rich array of exemplary figures who over the centuries have confronted the same questions he now poses about the most basic fact of life: its inevitable extinction.
If the fear of death is “the most rational thing in the world,” how does one contend with it? An atheist at twenty, an agnostic at sixty, Barnes looks into the various arguments for and against and with God, and at the bloodline whose archivist, following his parents’ death, he has become—another realm of mystery, wherein a drawer of mementos and his own memories (not to mention those of his philosopher brother) often fail to connect. There are other ancestors, too: the writers—“most of them dead, and quite a few of them French”—who are his daily companions, supplemented by composers and theologians and scientists whose similar explorations are woven into this account with an exhilarating breadth of intellect and felicity of spirit.
Deadly serious, masterfully playful, and surprisingly hilarious, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a riveting display of how this supremely gifted writer goes about his business and a highly personal tour of the human condition and what might follow the final diagnosis.
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" Both fun and funny. It is sharp too, in the sense of painful as well as witty... Barnes dissects with tremendous verve and insight this awesome inevitability of death and its impact on the human psyche. He also tears at your heart" ( New Statesman)
"A maverick form of family memoir that is mainly an extended reflection on the fear of death and on that great consolation, religioous belief... It is entertaining, intriguing, absorbing...an inventive and invigorating slant on what is nowadays called 'life writing'. It took me hours to write this review because each reference to my notes set me off rereading; that is a reviewer's ultimate accolade" (Penelope Lively Financial Times)
"A brilliant bible of elegant despair...that most urgent kind of self-help manual: the one you must read before you die" (Tim Adams Vogue)
"Intensely fascinating" ( The Times)
" An elegant memoir and meditation. A deep seismic tremor of a book that keeps rumbling and grumbling in the mind for weeks thereafter" ( Garrison Keillor)
"The overall effect is that of an edifying conversation with an interesting, knowledgeable but refreshingly unpretentious thinker."
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Book Description Knopf, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0307269639
Book Description Knopf, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110307269639
Book Description Book Condition: New. Clean copy. We ship within 24 hours. 100% guaranty. Bookseller Inventory # HX-PUOQ-NB6O
Book Description Knopf, 2008. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "[Nothing to Be Frightened Of] sports a dazzling blend of wry humor, keen philosophy and perceptive observations as Barnes ruminates about the inevitability of death and what it all means." Verna Noel Jones,Rocky Mountain News "Brilliantly written and also funny.the book is cunningly composed, in fact held together in a rather Proustian fashion.Barnes has an extremely lively mind, and a distinctive voice, which gives a certain welcome jauntiness or gaiety to his darker musings." Frank Kermode,TheNew York Review of Books "Barbarously intelligent [and] a rare thing in literature.marvelously engaging, even uplifting.Briskly, rigorously, this unusual book gives us something to think about until that nothingness comes knocking." John Freeman, NPR "A delicious mix of personal reminiscence, family history, literary criticism, and philosophical speculation." Frank Wilson,The Philadelphia Inquirer "Strange and marvelous.Despite[its] mordant wit, erudition, and typically British understatement, the fear and trembling at its heart are always palpable.It issogoodan item of high literary quality and, paradoxically, great good humor." Dan Menaker, Barnes & Noble Review "Surprisingly jocularalthough also dead earnest.highly literary, thoughtful but playful." Heller McAlpin,San Francisco Chronicle "Barnes is a great conversationalist, and this is a humorous book in spite of its serious subject." Vikram Johri,St. Petersburg Times "An elegant memoir and meditation, a deep seismic tremor of a book that keeps rumbling and grumbling in the mind for weeks thereafter.What gives this book life and keeps the reader happily churning forward is [Barnes's] affection for the people who wander in and out.I will say a prayer for retail success. It is a beautiful and funny book, still booming in my head." Garrison Keillor,The New York Times Book Review(front cover) "Erudite and entertaining." J. David Slocum,Playboy "A brilliant bible of elegant despair.that most urgent kind of self-help manual: the one you must read before you die." Tim Adams,Men's Vogue "Barnes is a writer of impulsive insights, many of them remarkable.of humane irony, antic imagination, and unsettling perceptiveness. He constructs a many-leveled scaffolding of argument, memoir, literary reference, and musings all around the dark pit." Richard Eder,The Boston Globe "For those who think that facing death is life's most pressing test, Barnes is an amiable and articulate companion [who] sees humor in the impossibility of finding lasting comfort.His contemplation of death invariably becomes a treatise on living." Sean Kinch,The Tennessean "Beautifully done.an extended meditation on human mortality, but one that is neither clinical nor falsely consoling. Instead, the witty and melancholic author simply converses with us about our most universal fear. Michael Dirda,The Washington Post "Very entertaining and, best of all, wholesomely provocative." Vince Passaro,O, The Oprah Magazine "[A] satisfyingly riverine blend of inquiry and apologia.Barnesreflective and erudite, a stellar stylist and a piquant witconfronts the paradoxes, fantasies, horrors, mystery, and inevitability of death in this bracing, mordantly funny, and expansive mix of musings, literary criticism, and memoir." Donna Seaman,Booklist "In this virtuosic memoir, readers will find themselves granted access to an unexpectedly lar. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0307269639