Among many things, this book is a family memoir, an exchange between the author and his brother (a philosopher), a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the French writer Jules Renard.
"As its brilliant title punningly hints, NOTHING TO BE FRIGHTENED OF offers an extended meditation on human mortality, but one that is neither clinical nor falsely consoling. Instead, the witty and melancholy author...simply converses with us about our most universal fear....Beautifully done."
Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World, 08/31/2008
"How can you be frightened of Nothing? On this simple question Barnes has hung an elegant memoir and meditation, a deep seismic tremor of a book that keeps rumbling and grumbling in the mind for weeks thereafter."
Garrison Keillor, New York Times Book Review, 10/03/2008