This is the third book by Julian Barnes in my collection. And the least loved as I can say after finishing it. “Pulse” is a short stories compilation which is divided into two parts. First one is about life and current events and the other one is about past and memories.

Pulse

I completely enjoyed the other books by Julian Barnes in my collection: “Nothing to Be Frightened Of” and “The Sense of an Ending”. I thought that “Pulse” won’t be worse, but my expectations did not materialise. This is a dull book which pretends to be an actual and a topical one. Friends who meet and joke about Obama and cancer, smoking and sex; a man, who wanted to know everything about his new girlfriend even without her permission; strange relationships between personal space defender and a mountain lover… All these stories left me absolutely emotionless. After the very first sad story I thought that I’ve found another book in Haruki Murakami style, but then I was disappointed. I read it and I do not believe it.

Pros

Pulse. Well, the main story is a masterpiece, needless to say. But as far as I know after reading this book, “Pulse” is not a fiction. It’s a real memory of Julian Barnes about his dying mother and his father. The extremely sad story with an amazing atmosphere!

The second part of the book. As much as I suffered reading the first part I enjoyed the second one. All the stories are brilliant! They are really interesting because Barnes do not flirt with the reader. He simply tells the story, reveals the plot and so on.

Jake, who is both fitter and more hedonistic than me, once told me what they say about martinis: “One’s perfect. Two’s too many. And three’s not enough.”Pulse

Cons

A multi-part story. Through the first part of the “Pulse” there comes a story about old friends who simply sit, eat and talk. They talk about politics, Obama and medical care, about anus and cancer, about smoking and food. They try to be witty but it looks like a bad comedian show with the “applause” sign here and there.

Overall

I will not recommend this book as the starting one if you haven’t read Barnes at all. But the original “Pulse” story is really good though. the second part of a compilation worth its money, but do you really like to pay only for the half of a product?

Book cover via amazon.co.uk

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