Oliver’s Riffs

Charles Nicholl

  • Talking It Over by Julian Barnes
    Cape, 288 pp, £13.99, July 1991, ISBN 0 224 03157 0

Julian Barnes is a writer of rare intelligence. He catches the detail of contemporary life with an uncanny, forensic skill. His style is a model of cool and precision. He is often very funny, and if his humour tends somewhat to jokiness, then at least the jokes are good ones. At his best – in Flaubert’s Parrot and A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters – he uses his skills as a literary entertainer to put across complex, resonant ideas.

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