Pulse

Pulse
Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes, a natural short story writer and not a novelist, plays to his strengths in this collection dealing with powerful if momentary feelings (the “pulses” of the heart), relationships breaking down, the usual failures to communicate between men and women, and a host of “normal English things.” The great theme of Barnes’s work is this definition of modern Englishness, and so the only stories that misfire here are a pair of historical pieces set in other countries. The rest of the book, however, is a strong reminder of why Barnes is still one of England’s top writers, and the one who has perhaps aged the best of all his generation.