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Julian Barnes’s novel sequence, Talking It Over and Love, etc., adds another to the list of genres the novel has proved capable of absorbing. This novel sequence succeeds in parodying the television talk-show discourse that we might call public relationship talk. The reader is constructed as the interviewer of the three main characters who, in the course of the hundred-odd interviews that make up each novel, take turns directly addressing the reader as they talk about their unfolding triangular love relations. Readers play the role of an interested but impartial interviewer whose questions and reactions are implied within the characters’ responses. Dispensing with the mediation of a narrator and inventing the reader as an interview partner enables a special liveliness and humor, so that Barnes’s ability to walk the tightrope between novel and talk show, and between postmodern parody and realist character, is a frequent source of delight, even as it highlights the challenges to the intersubjective creation of the self.
|Keywords:||Julian Barnes, Novel, Genre, Talk-Show Discourse, Parody, Postmodern Humor, Narrative Technique|
Professor of English, Arts and Humanities Division, Babson College, Wellesely, MA, USA
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