novelist, educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. He worked as a lexicographer on the OED supplement (1969–72) and as a reviewer for the New Statesman, the Sunday Times, and the Observer. His novels embrace an unusual blend of domestic realism and metaphysical speculation. Metroland (1980) moves from a London schoolboy's suburbia to student Paris in 1968, and back again. Before She Met Me (1982) deals with a recurrent theme of sexual jealousy, which resurfaces in Talking It Over (1991). Flaubert's Parrot (1984) is set in Flaubert's Rouen and Croisset; it is a mixture of biographical detection, literary commentary, and fictional self‐analysis. Staring at the Sun (1986) deals with fear of death and the ageing process. A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (1989) is a series of essays or stories linked by the theme of shipwreck and survival. England, England (1998) is a satire set in the near future. Arthur and George (2005) is a historical novel based on a cause célèbre adopted by Conan Doyle. Cross Channel (1996) and The Lemon Table (2004) are volumes of short stories. His other works include The Porcupine (1992, a satirical novella) and Letters from London 1990–1995 (1995, selections from Barnes's New Yorker column). He has also published several thrillers under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.
Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).