A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters is a 1989 novel by Julian Barnes. I picked it up ages ago because I liked Flaubert's Parrot so much but am just now getting around to reading it.
from the back of the book:
It's a hilariously revisionist account of Noah's ark, narrated by a passenger who doesn't appear in Genesis. It's a sneak preview of heaven. It encompasses the stories of a cruise ship hijacked by terrorists and of woodworms tried for blasphemy in sixteenth-century France. In short, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters is a grandly ambitious and inventive work of fiction, in the traditions of Joyce and Calvino, from the author of the widely acclaimed Flaubert's Parrot.
The New York Times calls it "a playful, witty and entertaining gathering of conjectures by a man to whom ideas are quite clearly crucial: a quintessential humanist, it would seem, of the pre-post-modernist species."
The photo at the top of the post is from LibraryThing.