Talking It Over
23 November 2007
Author of nine novels, including Flaubert’s Parrot and A History of the World in 10 and ½ chapters, Julian Barnes is one of the most distinguished novelists currently writing in English. Born in Leicester, England, in 1946, Julian Barnes is the author of two books of stories, three collections of essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet’s In the Land of Pain, and ten novels; he has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize (Flaubert’s Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005). In France, he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina, and in 2004 he became a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In England his honors include the Somerset Maugham Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He has also received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He currently lives and writes in London.
His sixth novel Talking It Over (1991) contrasts two friends: dull Stuart, an investment banker, and brilliant Oliver, a teacher of English to foreigners. Stuart meets Gillian, a picture restorer, and marries her, but soon afterwards, Oliver falls in love with Gillian, who gets a divorce from Stuart and marries Oliver. Stuart is desperate and leaves for the United States while Gillian and Oliver move to the South of France and have a daughter. The novel Talking It Over presents a fairly conventional triangular relationship but applies an original narrative technique. Many reviewers saw through the deceptive simplicity of the plot and applauded the original narrative technique and confessional style. Adapting the convention of the epistolary novel, the book is composed of dramatic monologues by the main protagonists but also by a few secondary characters. Each monologue is preceded by the name of the protagonist who intervenes so that, to a certain extent, the novel resembles a play. The stage adaptation of SNG Drama Ljubljana perserved construction of the novel, but it simplified the plot by removing all secondary voices, so that there are only three main characters left.
Days of Comedy in Celje
Cultural and Communication Centre Šentjanž in Rož (Austria)