Monthly Archives: January 2013

Julian Barnes On The Writers Who Influenced Him


I enjoy reading about authors.  I also enjoy reading essays of all sorts, including book review essays.  These are perhaps the reasons why I chose to read and review THROUGH THE WINDOW:  SEVENTEEN ESSAYS AND A SHORT STORY by Julian Barnes (New York:  Vintage International, 2012).  Frankly, I had never read anything by Julian Barnes, or even heard of him before reading THROUGH THE WINDOW.

Collections of essays, like collections of short stories, are always a mixed bag.  Some will inevitably be more interesting than others.  This collection is no exception.  I did not find the first two essays on Penelope Fitzgerald particularly interesting.  When I hear the name, Fitzgerald, I naturally think of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.  After reading about Penelope Fitzgerald, I am not likely to do so. 

The essay on George Orwell and the three on Ford Madox Ford are worth the purchase of the book.  Like everyone who went to college during that marvelous decade of the sixties, I read several of Orwell’s volumes.  DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON (1933) and THE ROAD TO WIGGEN PIER (1937) remain my favorites.  After reading the three essays on Ford Madox Ford, I found myself wandering about the local library in search of a copy of THE GOOD SOLDIER (1915).

Julian Barnes is an award winning author of seventeen books, including three short story collections and four non-fiction volumes.  THROUGH THE WINDOW is a good introduction to his writing style as well as an interesting look into the world of books and authors.

Until next time, be good to all God’s creation and always walk under the mercy.