When you read a great book, you don't escape from life, you plunge deeper into it.

- Julian Barnes

Well, to be honest I think I tell less truth when I write journalism than when I write fiction.

- Julian Barnes

I was initially planning to write about grief in terms of Eurydice and the myth thereof. By that point the overall metaphor of height and depth and flat and falling and rising was coming into being in my mind.

- Julian Barnes

I am death-fearing. I don't think I'm morbid. That seems to me a fear of death that goes beyond the rational. Whereas it seems to me to be entirely rational to fear death!

- Julian Barnes

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.

- Julian Barnes

In an oppressive society the truth-telling nature of literature is of a different order, and sometimes valued more highly than other elements in a work of art.

- Julian Barnes

Grief seems at first to destroy not just all patterns, but also to destroy a belief that a pattern exists.

- Julian Barnes

It took me some years to clear my head of what Paris wanted me to admire about it, and to notice what I preferred instead. Not power-ridden monuments, but individual buildings which tell a quieter story: the artist's studio, or the Belle Epoque house built by a forgotten financier for a just-remembered courtesan.

- Julian Barnes

I have an instinct for survival, for self-preservation.

- Julian Barnes

Paris is certainly one of the most boastful of cities, and you could argue that it has had a lot to boast about: at various times the European centre of power, of civilisation, of the arts, and (self-advertisingly, at least) of love.

- Julian Barnes