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Publisher's Summary

This is one of the defining novels of English writer Julian Barnes. An entertaining melange of stories, starting with a contemporary account of the launch of Noah's Ark, takes us into unexpected areas of human foibles, activities, and tendencies.
After success with the main novels of Haruki Murakami, Naxos AudioBooks turns its attention to other major literary works of recent times.
©1989 Julian Barnes (P)2007 Naxos Rights International
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Critic Reviews

“Barnes's witty and sometimes acerbic retelling of the history of the world. The stories are connected, if only tangentially, which is precisely Barnes's point: historians may tell us that "there was a pattern," but history is "just voices echoing in the dark . . . strange links, impertinent connections." Fascinating reading from the author of Flaubert's Parrot.” ( Library Journal)
"Frequently brilliant, funny, thoughtful, iconoclastic and a delight to read." (Salman Rushdie)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Richard on 02-11-13

More Great Julian Barnes

Where does A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

HISTORY OF THE WORLD is one of the best books I have yet to listen to, and I have listened to hundreds. Barnes is brilliant with his wide ranging intelligence and splendid writing style. Alex Jennings is one of my favorite narrators and has done equally well with other of Julian Barnes' books.

What did you like best about this story?

These are stories that are linked in the most subtle (and not so subtle) way.

Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Alex Jennings' narrations of other Julian Barnes books are truly wonderful.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some of these stories are quite funny, and others serious and philosophical.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Lewis on 12-19-12

An uneven collection of smart short stories

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The stories were "smart" as contrasted with "interesting" or insightful, though some were better than others. It seemed like more of an intellectual exercise by a clever man rather than the kind of literature Barnes has written before, and the stories are tied together very loosely, if at all. Not close to his best work and not as good a style as his novels.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Martin on 05-13-09

Entertaining, often funny

This is like a collection of short stories that have an overlap with characters and themes, without quite making it seem like it is just one whole story. I found it was a very pleasant listen and quite enlightening, a few laugh out loud moments too. I really liked the style of the stories all being so different but having a common thread linking them all in some way. There were a couple of parts I found went a little bit off what I would normally expect to listen to but I was quite suprised to find I was happily engaged by them and neither went on long enough that I lost interest, just enough to be interesting. Well narrated, well written and entertaining. Will give some of the other titles by this author a listen.

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Alison on 10-14-13

Odd - but enjoyable

I like short stories and so this was perfect, for that is what the book is, basically. A series of short, often very different stories. Some are sad, some savage, some dry, witty and wry.

The narration was perfect.

I have given it 4 stars overall partly because of the reader; the story (such as it is, there isn't one, really) gets only 3. So if a book that has a beginning, middle and end is your cup of tea, this might not be. It's not a novel, it's a series of (very lightly) linked tales.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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