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.
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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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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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Sheri Blyskal, October 25, 2006 (view all comments by Sheri Blyskal)
I picked up this book based on a Powells.com recommendation and anxiously awaited it's arrival. I loved the idea of it and the writing is top notch. I quit reading it with about 50 pages left because it just moved too slowly. I almost always finish a book because I feel this need to know how it ends. With this novel, I really didn't care.
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Alfred A. Knopf -
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 Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[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."
by Seattle Times,
"[F]ascinating....What appears to have been a 'footnote in legal history' is the source for a stunning literary achievement."
by Michael Dirda, The Washington Post,
"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."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"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."
by Boston Globe,
"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."
by Library Journal,
"A beautifully modulated work; highly recommended."
by Los Angeles Times,
"[A] finely evocative historical novel as well as a morally and psychologically astute glimpse into the worlds of two men."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"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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