Something to Declare
Something to Declare
Essays on France and French Culture
Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400030873, 317pp.
Publication Date: September 9, 2003
Anyone who loves France (or just feels strongly about it), or has succumbed to the spell of Julian Barnes’s previous books, will be enraptured by this collection of essays on the country and its culture.
Barnes’s appreciation extends from France’s vanishing peasantry to its hyper-literate pop singers, from the gleeful iconoclasm of nouvelle vague cinema to the orgy of drugs and suffering that is the Tour de France. Above all, Barnes is an unparalleled connoisseur of French writing and writers. Here are the prolific and priapic Simenon, Baudelaire, Sand and Sartre, and several dazzling excursions on the prickly genius of Flaubert. Lively yet discriminating in its enthusiasm, seemingly infinite in its range of reference, and written in prose as stylish as haute couture, Something to Declare is an unadulterated joy.
“Beautifully written. . . . There is much to amuse and delight in this collection, and reflections of considerable worth.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Offers insight into the political, literary and sporting culture of a nation, with brilliant and engaging results. . . . Barnes displays here his nose for the extraordinary detail and the comic moment of phrasing.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Julian Barnes seems to have done more for Anglo-French relations than anyone since Edward VII.” –Daily Telegraph (London)
“Our finest essayist.” –Financial Times
“Barnes does indeed have numerous things to declare . . . and he does so with profound insight and biting intelligence. . . . Barnes conveys his passions with infectious vigor.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Something to Declare is supremely enjoyable. . . . A tour de force.” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“[Barnes’] insights are intelligent and provocative, his turn of phrase stylish and witty.” –Winston-Salem Journal
"[A] Tour de France–and a tour de force." –Booklist (starred review)
“Barnes is humorous throughout this collection, attenuating the stress of cultural intersections.” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch