Julian Barnes Quotes

In China it’s taken as a compliment if the tablecloth immediately surrounding your place is, by the end of a meal, a site of major spillage: ill-aimed rice, gouts of soy sauce, twigs from your bird’s-nest-soup, or whatever. At least, this is what I was once told by a courteous Chinese guide, who might just […]

One way of legitimising coincidences – in fiction, of course, is to call them ironies. That’s what smart people do. Irony is, after all, the modern mode, a drinking companion for resonance and wit. Who could be against it? And yet I sometimes wonder if the wittiest, most resonant irony isn’t just a well brushed, […]

Books say: she did this because. Life says: she did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surpirsed some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people’s lives, never your own.

The Sixties were an oyster decade: slippery, luxurious and reportedly aphrodisiac they slipped down the historical throat without touching the sides.

Do not imagine that Art is something which is designed to give gentle uplift and self-confidence. Art is not a brassiere. At least, not in the English sense. But do not forget that brassiere is the French word for life-jacket.