The stories in Julian Barnes' long-awaited third collection are attuned to rhythms and currents: of the body, of love and sex, illness and death, connections and conversations. Each character is bent to a pulse, propelled on by success and loss, by new beginnings and endings. In "East Wind" a divorced estate agent falls in love with a European ...Read MoreThe stories in Julian Barnes' long-awaited third collection are attuned to rhythms and currents: of the body, of love and sex, illness and death, connections and conversations. Each character is bent to a pulse, propelled on by success and loss, by new beginnings and endings. In "East Wind" a divorced estate agent falls in love with a European waitress, but is tempted, despite his happiness, to investigate her past; in "The Limner" a deaf painter discovers his patron's likeness after spending time among his staff. Anchored off the coast of Brazil, Garibaldi spies his future wife through a telescope, and in "Marriage Lines", a widower returns to a remote Scottish Island to relive a favourite holiday. These are also lives in flux - in the 'stages, transitions, arguments; incompatibilities which grow' - as in the title story, where a man reflects on the break-up of his marriage, brought into new perspective by the actions of his parents; two writers, a 'good team', return from an event rehearsing familiar arguments; in "Gardener's World", a couple bond, fall out and bond again over flowers and vegetable patches. Positioned in between are a series of evenings at "Phil & Joanna's", where among the topics of conversation - the environment, politics, the Britishness of marmalade, toilet graffiti and the perils of smoking - we witness the guests' lives shift in sections over the course of a year. Ranging from the domestic to the extraordinary, from the vineyards of Italy to the English seaside in winter, the stories in Pulse resonate and spark, each imbued with the humour, poignancy and perception that marks all Julian Barnes' work. This is an imaginative and expertly-constructed new collection from a master of the form.Read Less
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