'Funny, ironic, erudite, surprising, and not afraid to take a dive overboard into the depths of sorrow and loss. My novel of the year' Nadime Gordimer
Beginning with an unlikely stowaway’s account of life on board Noah’s Ark, A History of the World in 10? Chapters presents a surprising, subversive, fictional history of earth told from several kaleidoscopic perspectives. Noah disembarks from his ark but he and his Voyage are not forgotten: they are revisited in on other centuries and other climes - by a Victorian spinster mourning her father, by an American astronaut on an obsessive personal mission. We journey to the Titanic, to the Amazon, to the raft of the Medusa, and to an ecclesiastical court in medieval France where a bizarre case is about to begin...
This is no ordinary history, but something stranger, a challenge and a delight for the reader's imagination. Ambitious yet accessible, witty and playfully serious, this is the work of a brilliant novelist.
“You will want to read it again and again, and why not? - there's nothing around to touch it”
Anne Smith, Literary Review
“There is more moral and intellectual fodder, and more jokes, here than you will read in a month of Sundays... storytelling and teaching which captivate, liberate, and above all, enchant”
“This is a novel like no other - provocative, superbly funny, a wonderful and most original work...gives the reader a sense of ebullient, whooping joy”
“Frequently brilliant, funny, thoughtful, iconoclastic, and a delight to read. Barnes is like a worldly, secular reincarnation of a medieval gloss-writer on sacred texts, and what he offers us is the novel as footnote to history, as subversion of the given, as brilliant, elaborate doodle around the margins of what we think about what we think we know”
Salman Rushdie, Observer