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Arthur and George: A Novel

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Arthur and George: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780307263100
ISBN10: 030726310x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Only 1 left in stock at $3.50!

 

Awards

2005 Booker Prize nominee

Staff Pick

Can I already announce the best book of 2006 in January? If so, here it is! With his customary elegant prose and intricate and wry observational skill, Julian Barnes narrates the true story of the relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji and the tragic miscarriage of justice which brought them together. Dazzling!
Recommended by Georgie, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From one of England's most esteemed novelists, an utter astonishment that captures an era through one life celebrated internationally and another entirely forgotten.

In the vast expanse of late-Victorian Britain, two boys come to life: George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, in shabby genteel Edinburgh, both of them feeling at once near to and impossibly distant from the beating heart of Empire. One falls prey to a series of pranks en route to a legal vocation, while the other studies medicine before discovering a different calling entirely, and it is years before their destinies are entwined in a mesmerizing alliance. We follow each through outrageous accusation and unrivaled success, through faith and perseverance and dogged self-recrimination, whether in the dock awaiting complete disgrace or at the height of fame while desperately in love with a woman not his wife, and gradually realize that George is half-Indian and that Arthur becomes the creator of the world's most famous detective. Ranging from London clubs to teeming prisons, from a lost century to the modern age, this novel is a panoramic revelation of things we thought we knew or else had no clue of, as well as a gripping exploration of what goals drive us toward whatever lies in wait — an experience resounding with issues, no less relevant today, of crime and spirituality; of identity and nationality; of what we think, what we believe and what we can prove.

Intriguing, relentless and, most of all, moving, Arthur and George richly extends the reach and achievement of a novelist described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "a dazzling mind in mercurial flight."

Review:

"Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician, sportsman, gentleman par excellence and the inventor of Sherlock Holmes; George is George Edalji, also a real, if less well-known person, whose path crossed not quite fatefully with the famous author's. Edalji was the son of a Parsi father (who was a Shropshire vicar), and a Scots mother. In 1903, George, a solicitor, was accused of writing obscene, threatening letters to his own family and of mutilating cattle in his farm community. He was convicted of criminal behavior in a blatant miscarriage of justice based on racial prejudice. Eventually, Sir Arthur ('Irish by ancestry, Scottish by birth') heard about George's case and began to advocate on his behalf. In this combination psychological novel, detective story and literary thriller, Barnes elegantly dissects early 20th-century English society as he spins this true-life story with subtle and restrained irony. Every line delivered by the many characters?the two principals, their school chums (Barnes sketches their early lives), their families and many incidentals?rings with import. His dramatization of George's trial, in particular, grinds with telling minutiae, and his portrait of Arthur is remarkably rich, even when tackling Doyle's spiritualist side. Shortlisted for the Booker, this novel about love, guilt, identity and honor is a triumph of storytelling, taking the form Barnes perfected in Flaubert's Parrot (1985) and stretching it yet again." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[D]eeply satisfying....The precision of the style suits the decorum of the period and serves to underline the warm, impulsive generosity of Doyle's support, which saved an innocent man from ruin. A triumph." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[F]ascinating....What appears to have been a 'footnote in legal history' is the source for a stunning literary achievement." Seattle Times

Review:

"Barnes's writing is, as usual, masterly....Facts are interpreted, then reinterpreted; the bigoted speak convincingly; nothing turns out quite as expected; and even the book's coda delivers a final shock." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

Review:

"Though Arthur and George is smoothly written and professionally assembled, it's a ponderous performance — crammed full of historical research and re-creations of period details and overstuffed with evidence relating to George's legal case." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"The results are mostly admirable, as Barnes has created brilliantly intimate portraits....Arthur and George will greatly please those who want a Dickensian sprawl of a novel with one or two heroes and a sometimes thrilling story line." Boston Globe

Review:

"A beautifully modulated work; highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[A] finely evocative historical novel as well as a morally and psychologically astute glimpse into the worlds of two men." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"While Arthur is the more colorful character...Barnes' George, thoughtful and cautious, is the greater creation, a tragic yet strangely noble little figure who may linger in your memory long after you have closed this marvelous book. (Grade: A)" Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of nine novels, including Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10-1/2 Chapters, and England, England, which was shortlisted for the 1998 Booker Prize. He is also the author of Something to Declare and Letters from London, as well as two collections of short stories, Cross Channel and The Lemon Table. He lives in London, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

busyreading..., February 3, 2008 (view all comments by busyreading...)
While shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, I would not have read Arthur & George had it not been for the suggestion of some friends. The verdict: take the advise of others and read this book! Julian Barnes is a true artisan with words. Along with the fantastic character development of Arthur and George, Barnes brings Sherlock Holmes alive once again.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(21 of 31 readers found this comment helpful)
ekent, November 21, 2007 (view all comments by ekent)
This book has a wonderful background story. However is does take patience to get through the first half of the book. It gets frustrating to never seem to gain any ground on the story. However once you really dig in the book is worth the wait.
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(20 of 35 readers found this comment helpful)
Dvora, November 6, 2006 (view all comments by Dvora)
I bought the book while on a trip to France when I was running out of reading material and where there was little to choose from in English. I had never heard of it (or of Julian Barnes) and had no idea what it was about except for the short description on the back cover that talked about two men who lived worlds apart but were brought together.

I thought the story unfolded slowly and beautifully. I was wonderfully surprised when I realized about whom I was reading. It was a captivating tale, all the more so for having been based on true events, and although it did move slowly in parts, I was in no hurry. Sometimes the pleasure of reading is just to move slowly with an author through wonderful prose and interesting plot. This book did that. Towards the end I was so hooked I couldn't put the book down so that I was exhausted last night when I finally finished. I will look for more by Julian Barnes.
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(39 of 69 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307263100
Author:
Barnes, Julian
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Horses
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Racially mixed people
Copyright:
Publication Date:
January 10, 2006
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Pages:
385
Dimensions:
9.62x6.50x1.35 in. 1.66 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Arthur and George: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 385 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780307263100 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Can I already announce the best book of 2006 in January? If so, here it is! With his customary elegant prose and intricate and wry observational skill, Julian Barnes narrates the true story of the relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji and the tragic miscarriage of justice which brought them together. Dazzling!

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician, sportsman, gentleman par excellence and the inventor of Sherlock Holmes; George is George Edalji, also a real, if less well-known person, whose path crossed not quite fatefully with the famous author's. Edalji was the son of a Parsi father (who was a Shropshire vicar), and a Scots mother. In 1903, George, a solicitor, was accused of writing obscene, threatening letters to his own family and of mutilating cattle in his farm community. He was convicted of criminal behavior in a blatant miscarriage of justice based on racial prejudice. Eventually, Sir Arthur ('Irish by ancestry, Scottish by birth') heard about George's case and began to advocate on his behalf. In this combination psychological novel, detective story and literary thriller, Barnes elegantly dissects early 20th-century English society as he spins this true-life story with subtle and restrained irony. Every line delivered by the many characters?the two principals, their school chums (Barnes sketches their early lives), their families and many incidentals?rings with import. His dramatization of George's trial, in particular, grinds with telling minutiae, and his portrait of Arthur is remarkably rich, even when tackling Doyle's spiritualist side. Shortlisted for the Booker, this novel about love, guilt, identity and honor is a triumph of storytelling, taking the form Barnes perfected in Flaubert's Parrot (1985) and stretching it yet again." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[D]eeply satisfying....The precision of the style suits the decorum of the period and serves to underline the warm, impulsive generosity of Doyle's support, which saved an innocent man from ruin. A triumph."
"Review" by , "[F]ascinating....What appears to have been a 'footnote in legal history' is the source for a stunning literary achievement."
"Review" by , "Barnes's writing is, as usual, masterly....Facts are interpreted, then reinterpreted; the bigoted speak convincingly; nothing turns out quite as expected; and even the book's coda delivers a final shock."
"Review" by , "Though Arthur and George is smoothly written and professionally assembled, it's a ponderous performance — crammed full of historical research and re-creations of period details and overstuffed with evidence relating to George's legal case."
"Review" by , "The results are mostly admirable, as Barnes has created brilliantly intimate portraits....Arthur and George will greatly please those who want a Dickensian sprawl of a novel with one or two heroes and a sometimes thrilling story line."
"Review" by , "A beautifully modulated work; highly recommended."
"Review" by , "[A] finely evocative historical novel as well as a morally and psychologically astute glimpse into the worlds of two men."
"Review" by , "While Arthur is the more colorful character...Barnes' George, thoughtful and cautious, is the greater creation, a tragic yet strangely noble little figure who may linger in your memory long after you have closed this marvelous book. (Grade: A)"
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