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Book review: Keeping an Eye Open by Julian Barnes

By Fatema Ahmed  

91HnBlCp99L(Jonathan Cape, £16.99)

The essays in Julian Barnes’s new collection, Keeping an Eye Open, all on the subject of art, were written between 1989 and 2013. They mainly cover French painting between 1850 and 1920 with three outlying chapters about Claes Oldenburg, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. They are typical of their author in that they provide a masterclass in how to think aloud without showing off.

There’s a temptation for critics to treat a novelist’s essays and non-fiction as a source to be mined for insights into the fiction but here, Barnes is…

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