Thursday, June 30, 2016

The History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters - Julian Barnes

Though the title seems self-evident, describing the plot of this book is easier said than done.
In 10 1/2 chapters, Barnes wavers between plots, characters, narrative forms and points of view with dizzying speed and skill. It is a collection of short stories, loosely tied together by the motif of navigation and shipwreck.

My two favourite chapters :

The first : A stowaway woodworm spills the beans on Noah, his family and life on the Ark. 
History has worked wonders on that one, at least according to the narrating woodworm!

The fifth : The first part narrates the 1816 shipwreck depicted by Géricault on The Raft of the Medusa. The second part is an analysis of the canvas itself; Géricault's narrative choices and the conditions under which it was painted.

In all, this was a brilliant book, yet I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. 
Perhaps my brain is already on vacation.
The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault, 1818-19

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