Love is just a system for getting someone to call you darling after sex.— Julian Barnes
The most restlessness Julian Barnes quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual
A pier is a disappointed bridge; yet stare at it for long enough and you can dream it to the other side of the Channel.
Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books.
When you read a great book, you don't escape from life, you plunge deeper into it.
The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.
The land of embarrassment and breakfast.
History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.
How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but — mainly — to ourselves.
Mystification is simple; clarity is the hardest thing of all.
What is the easiest, the most comfortable thing for a writer to do? To congratulate the society in which he lives: to admire its biceps, applaud its progress, tease it endearingly about its follies.
Some of the freckles I once loved are now closer to liver spots.
But it’s still the eyes we look at, isn’t it? That’s where we found the other person, and find them still.
Does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce? No, that's too grand, too considered a process. History just burps, and we taste again that raw-onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago.
Because love is the meeting point of truth and magic.
Truth, as in photography; magic, as in ballooning.
The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature; only then can he see clearly.
Whisky, I find, helps clarity of thought.
And reduces pain. It has the additional virtue of making you drunk or, if taken in sufficient quantity, very drunk.
What makes us want to know the worst? Is it that we tire of preferring to know the best? Does curiosity always hurdle self-interest? Or is it, more simply, that wanting to know the worst is love's favorite perversion.
(on grief) And you do come out of it, that’s true.
After a year, after five. But you don’t come out of it like a train coming out of a tunnel, bursting through the downs into sunshine and that swift, rattling descent to the Channel; you come out of it as a gull comes out of an oil-slick. You are tarred and feathered for life.
The spring of 1930 marks the end of a period of grave concern.
..American business is steadily coming back to a normal level of prosperity.
I don't believe in God, but I miss him.
WHORES. Necessary in the nineteenth century for the contraction of syphilis, without which no one could claim genius.
Memories of childhood were the dreams that stayed with you after you woke.
I have an instinct for survival, for self-preservation.
[Literature is] a process of producing grand, beautiful, well-ordered lies that tell more truth than any assemblage of facts.
Time...give us enough time and our best-supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical.
History is the lies of the victors.
I had wanted life not to bother me too much, and had succeeded - and how pitiful that was.
Do not imagine that Art is something which is designed to give gentle uplift and self-confidence . Art is not a brassiere. At least, not in the English sense. But do not forget that brassiere is the French word for life-jacket.
As I've explained to my wife many times, you have to kill your wife or mistress to get on the front page of the papers.
[Flaubert] didn’t just hate the railway as such;
he hated the way it flattered people with the illusion of progress. What was the point of scientific advance without moral advance? The railway would merely permit more people to move about, meet and be stupid together.
The best form of government is one that is dying, because that means it’s giving way to something else.
What you end up remembering isn't always the same as what you have witnessed.
When we're young, everyone over the age of thirty looks middle-aged, everyone over fifty antique. And time, as it goes by, confirms that we weren't that wrong. Those little age differentials, so crucial and so gross when we are young erode. We end up all belonging to the same category, that of the non-young. I've never much minded this myself.
Pride makes us long for a solution to things – a solution, a purpose, a final cause; but the better telescopes become, the more stars appear.
Irony - The modern mode: either the devil’s mark or the snorkel of sanity.
Reading is a majority skill but a minority art.
Yet nothing can replace the exact, complicated, subtle communion between absent author and entranced, present reader.
Had my life increased, or merely added to itself? There had been addition and subtraction in my life, but how much multiplication?
All bad things are exaggerated in the middle of the night.
When you lie awake, you only think of bad things.
Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce? No, that
There is accumulation. There is responsibility. And beyond this there is great unrest.
To be stupid, and selfish, and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness.
The writer's life [is] full of frailty and defeat like any other life.
What counts is the work. Yet the work can quite easily be buried, or half-buried, by the life.
When you are writing fiction your task is to reflect the fullest complications of the world
You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed.
Every love story is a potential grief story.
Nature is so exact, it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way one relishes the pain. If it didn't matter, it wouldn't matter.
We live, we die, we are remembered, we are forgotten.
Perhaps the world progresses not by maturing, but by being in a permanent state of adolescence, of thrilled discovery.
You lose the world for a glance? Of course you do.
That is what the world is for: to lose under the right circunstances.
The rainbow in place of the unicorn? Why didn't God just restore the unicorn? We animals would have been happier with that, instead of a big hint in the sky about God's magnanimity every time it stopped raining.
History isn't the lies of the victors, as I once glibly assured Old Joe Hunt;
I know that now. It's more the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious or defeated.