I love short stories and I love Julian Barnes evenThe love for the two comes together fairly well in this book The premise of the collection is Anglo French relations and it plays a prominent role and a profound backdrop over which the stories are laid.I ve been reading a lot of the author s works over the past year and it has shown me his tremendous range over a variety of genre From contemporary fiction in Sense of an Ending and Talking it over Love,etc to the biographical accoun I love short stories and I love Julian Barnes evenThe love for the two comes together fairly well in this book The premise of the collection is Anglo French relations and it plays a prominent role and a profound backdrop over which the stories are laid.I ve been reading a lot of the author s works over the past year and it has shown me his tremendous range over a variety of genre From contemporary fiction in Sense of an Ending and Talking it over Love,etc to the biographical accounts of a historical characters like in Flaubert s Parrot and the most recent Noise of time , Barnes can do it all His collection of short stories in History of the world in 10 and a half chapters has him experimenting with interrelated stories which was an amazing read This book stays true to the brilliance of his writing as it manages to transcend genres and styles The stories cross time and space, but remain consistent in the way they connect the characters and the circumstances to England and France I wouldn t want to spoil any of the stories by going into them as it was a pleasant surprise on reading them Would highly recommend it to everyone, especially those who love short stories It s one of those books that I would gladly reread in the near future A thick slice of everything short fiction can be. This collection of short stories was uneven Don t I say this about every collection of short stories Well, except for the one I found evenly bad, but I won t mention any names.The book s main theme is the relations between French and British, specifically the stories of Brits in France Being neither French, nor British at least not for another two years this is a foreign territory for me I see both countries through my Polish glasses France is mostly Napoleon and his broken promises made This collection of short stories was uneven Don t I say this about every collection of short stories Well, except for the one I found evenly bad, but I won t mention any names.The book s main theme is the relations between French and British, specifically the stories of Brits in France Being neither French, nor British at least not for another two years this is a foreign territory for me I see both countries through my Polish glasses France is mostly Napoleon and his broken promises made to the Polish people and also a penchant for romantic dramatic gestures which we seem to share although the Polish tend to stick to them longer than it seems reasonable The British we resent a little bit for the WWII business, and the Yalta, but we also love them because they are what we wish we could be if we could only get our shit together We also love them because they were the first EU country to fully open their borders to us and let us colonise their land Finally, we look at both countries with a certain suspicion because they don t have Jesus in their hearts any And Jesus is very important So is Virgin Mary.The impression I have of British French relations is a peculiar mix of love and hate The two countries are locked in some silent eternal battle They constantly invade each other culturally and linguistically and fight to be on top And they will probably do so long after the world forgets about them and moves on some say it has happened already.Having worked for 3.5 year for a London wine broker dealing in high end stuff mostly Bordeaux and Burgundy I have witnessed all of that first hand It s no surprise then that I really liked the stories which dealt with wine One of my favourite stories was Hermitage, a tale about two English ladyfriends who move to Bordeaux to make wine and live happily ever after I also liked the one about sex as I would called Experiment It s about a group of French surrealists pulling a prank on an old Englishman and it s full of quotables I would annually try to avoid getting as drunk as I had the previous year I can t say I ever succeeded, because though each year my resolution was stronget, so was the countervailing force of my uncle s tediousness In my experience, there are various good but less motives guilt, fear, misery, happiness for indulging in a certain excess of drink, and one larger motive for indulging in a great excess boredom At one time I knew a clever alcoholic who insisted that he drank because things then happened to him such as never did when he was sober I half believed him, though to my mind drink does not really make things happen, it simply helps you bear the pain of things not happening For instance, the pain of my uncle being exceptionally boring on his birthdays There was also quite a touching story about an old Englishwoman whose life revolved around caring for the grave of her brother, who died in the First World War This was the only story in the collection that was emotionally developed, the rest of them were clever, imaginative, linguistically brilliant but emotionally stunted I think this is why Julian Barnes and I will never fall in love, even though we should He has got everything I admire and look for in a writer I want imagination, I want a beautiful language, I never consciously demand emotions, as I am not much into drama, but I suppose it s one of those things I don t want but I need them.I will close this review of Barnes work with the following quote The hairy navvy now transferred his suspicion from the label to the viand That s Barnes for you He is going to send to the dictionary ten times a page A lesser writer would just write food , but not Barnes For Barnes it s viand I picked this book up because a I had heard a lot of good things about the author, and b I was taking a cross channel historical research trip myself, traveling alone, and needing a trusty literary tour guide.In both, I wasn t disappointed Barnes is a great stylist, his prose nothing but elegant He is also able to narrate in different voices a pompous British aristocrat who thinks only of Cricket while France burns in the Revolution and la Terreur, two old maids who give up their farm in I picked this book up because a I had heard a lot of good things about the author, and b I was taking a cross channel historical research trip myself, traveling alone, and needing a trusty literary tour guide.In both, I wasn t disappointed Barnes is a great stylist, his prose nothing but elegant He is also able to narrate in different voices a pompous British aristocrat who thinks only of Cricket while France burns in the Revolution and la Terreur, two old maids who give up their farm in Essex to become vintners in France, a dying English composer who can subdue an entire French village when he wants to listen to the radio, and the old world fairy tale teller who narrates the tale of Catholic soldiers trying to convert a Protestant village in France, to name a few.The span of time is vast from the late seventeenth century to the near future And the research on the terrain is authoritative I took the same Chunnel trip and couldn t help but slump into deep reverie like Barnes s aging writer in the story Tunnel the deeper we burrowed under the British Channel.And yet, other than for the woman who mourns her dead brother from World War I and travels annually to commemorate his death on Remembrance Day, I felt that the rest of the characters were mainly pegs in a larger drawing of the Cross Channel cultural divide between Britain and France They did not grab me as vividly as the prose and the subject matter did.However, now that I have read the primer, I shall readBarnes I did not really finish it, just read a half and decided to quit a rare decision for me I usually like short stories, but this collection is about British French relations, and simply is not really close to my heart Skillfully written, but stories plots are not very interesting, the endings are not surprising and sometimes author goes too far in using rare words, so it becomes hard to push through.It s not O Henry, unfortunately. Short story collection, so a fast read I enjoyed probably 60% of the stories, and I did like the little things that linked some with others in the collection But I had problems reading this one probably because I m Canadian.More specifically, probably because I m not English or French There were a lot of references to the history of these two countries, many of which were the linchpin for the story, and if you didn t know the history, it took a long time to figure out the story, sometimes n Short story collection, so a fast read I enjoyed probably 60% of the stories, and I did like the little things that linked some with others in the collection But I had problems reading this one probably because I m Canadian.More specifically, probably because I m not English or French There were a lot of references to the history of these two countries, many of which were the linchpin for the story, and if you didn t know the history, it took a long time to figure out the story, sometimes not till the end of it I m sure as an Englishman woman, it would have been muchenjoyable, but for someone who doesn t know enough about the two regions, it was a disappointment Made me want to learn a bitabout them though, so I suppose that s all good Ten short stories on Anglo French relations A few are memorable, but there s nothing here to match the interlinked tales in The History of the World in 10.5 Chapters.Frequently enough, though, you meet a phrase or a passage that reminds you how much of a masterful and moving writer Julian Barnes can be, especially on the topic of grief. Just wonderful, every story so perfect. Cross Channel is a short collection of short stories with a common theme of British French relationships over time.The gently mocking, elegant prose is exactly what I would have expected from Barnes However, I found all but Dragons to be rather limp With Dragons , I dived in and had to reach the end in one sitting the rest I simply waded through because they were atmospheric and beautifully written A very solid four stars from me. Afortunadamente para os leitores e a literatura, Barnes tem sido sempre um escritor imprevis vel Aqueles que leram O Papagaio de Flaubert e Uma Hist ria do Mundo em Dez Cap tulos e Meio, para citar os seus livros mais famosos, conhecem a sua capacidade de for ar at aos ltimos limites as formas da narrativa, conjugando de forma subtil a intelig ncia das ideias com o prazer de contar uma verdadeira hist riaEm Do Outro Lado do Canal, depara se nos uma colec o de hist rias, aparentemente desconexas, mas que adquirem, gra as a um nico fio condutor, uma perfeita e fascinante unidadeE qual esse fio condutor A oposi o Inglaterra Fran a, o fasc nio que o continente exerce sobre a ilha, a Fran a como o Outro absoluto da Inglaterra, t o pr ximo e t o distante Um livro deslumbrante Julian Barnes o mais inteligente e o mais cosmopolita dos escritores ingleses Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Para mim, este o melhor livro de Barnes Don Skiles, San Francisco Chronicle