A black-and-white photograph of Julian Barnes, on the left, next to a large green arrow towards a flatlay of his book covers

Where to start reading Julian Barnes

Booker Prize-winner Julian Barnes has a top-notch bibliography to dive into – but with such a varied spread of books, where to begin? John Self guides you through.

Julian Barnes’ status as an elder statesman of the literary establishment – he was on the first Granta list of Best Young British Novelists in 1983, along with writers like Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro – means it’s easy to overlook how varied his career has been. He wrote, under a pseudonym, four seedy detective novels featuring a bisexual ex-cop, and coined the term “posh bingo” to describe the Booker Prize – a quarter of a century before he won it.

His latest novel Elizabeth Finch reminds us just what an unpredictable and original writer he is: no English author of his generation has done more to expand our idea of what a novel can be.  So it might be helpful to boil down his output of 14 novels, eight works of non-fiction, three story collections – and one superb translation – into a handy guide of where to start reading him…

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