From one of England's most esteemed novelists, an utter astonishment that
captures an era through one life celebrated internationally and another entirely
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 waitan 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 & George richly extends the reach and achievement of a novelist described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "a dazzling mind in mercurial flight."
A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A
child wanted to see.
He was able to walk, and could reach up to a door handle. He did this with nothing that could be called a purpose, merely the instinctive tourism of infancy. A door was there to be pushed; he walked in, stopped, looked. There was nobody to observe him; he turned and walked away, carefully shutting the door behind him.
What he saw there became his first memory. A small boy, a room, a bed, closed curtains leaking afternoon light. By the time he came to describe it publicly, sixty years had passed. How many internal retellings had smoothed and adjusted the plain words he finally used? Doubtless it still seemed as clear as on the day itself. The door, the room, the light, the bed, and what was on the bed: a "white, waxen thing."
A small boy and a corpse: such encounters would not have been so rare in the Edinburgh of his time. High mortality rates and cramped ...
For an unbeatable historical mystery, look no further than Arthur & George; and it should go without saying that this is a must read for Sherlock Holmes fans who are interested in the man behind the books.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (595 words).
About the author: Julian Barnes was born in Leicester,
England, in 1946, Over the past 30 years he has written novels,
non-fiction, short stories and two series (one in his own name and one as Dan
Kavanagh). He has won a number of literary prizes and has been nominated
for the Booker Prize three times. In France, he is the only writer to have won
both the Prix Médicis and the Prix Fémina, and in 2004 he became a Commandeur
de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Partial bibliography (novels & collections)
Before She Met Me (1982)
Flaubert's Parrot (1984)
Staring At the Sun (1986)
A History of the World In 10 1/2 Chapters (1989)
The Porcupine (1992)
Cross Channel: Stories ...
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This subtle and wise work is more than a re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes but a profound meditation on faultiness of memory and how, as we grow older, the way we see the world is inevitably altered.
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