A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

by Julian Barnes

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 146

The novel is a collection of short stories with familiar and fictional characters. The first story, "The Stowaway," has a biblical character, Noah, and a fictional one, Woodworm, involved in a series of events related to a biblical story. The author tweaks the story of Noah's ark. In his narrative, God saves Noah because he is the most well-behaved of the bad batch. At this point, the reader realizes that this novel doesn't describe the history of the world from a familiar perspective, but rather, it describes it from the author's viewpoint. The remaining nine chapters are stories with different plots—from terrorist encounters to romantic tales to tragedies.

Anyone interested in this book should have an open mind and be ready for anything before reading it. The way the writer mixes different genres and still manages to come up with something interesting is absolute genius.

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