Inside the mind of author Julian Barnes is a wonderful place to be

Author Julian Barnes
Author Julian Barnes Credit: Gaby Wood

Julian Barnes is an elegant thinker, a stylish broadcaster, a fine writer. His series Changing My Mind, broadcast across the final week of the 70-day celebration of Radio 3’s 70th birthday, was excellent. He, too, turned 70 this year and his account of himself now and in remembered years of “then” was everything at which an admiring adjective could be aimed. It isn’t often friends telephone to ask if I am listening (and, if not, to insist that I do) but this series made it happen every day last week.

“It sounds such a simple business,” began Barnes, speaking of minds and their changing. He distinguished between logical and random thinkers, asking whether memory is a function of the brain or part...

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