The Man in the Red Coat: Book summary and reviews of The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes

The Man in the Red Coat

by Julian Barnes

The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes X
The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2019
    208 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending - a rich, witty, revelatory tour of Belle Époque Paris, via the remarkable life story of the pioneering surgeon, Samuel Pozzi.

In the summer of 1885, three Frenchmen arrived in London for a few days' intellectual shopping: a prince, a count, and a commoner with an Italian name. In time, each of these men would achieve a certain level of renown, but who were they then and what was the significance of their sojourn to England?

Answering these questions, Julian Barnes unfurls the stories of their lives which play out against the backdrop of the Belle Époque in Paris. Our guide through this world is Samuel Pozzi, the society doctor, free-thinker and man of science with a famously complicated private life who was the subject of one of John Singer Sargent's greatest portraits. In this vivid tapestry of people (Henry James, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Proust, James Whistler, among many others), place, and time, we see not merely an epoch of glamour and pleasure, but, surprisingly, one of violence, prejudice, and nativism—with more parallels to our own age than we might imagine.

The Man in the Red Coat is, at once, a fresh portrait of the Belle Époque; an illuminating look at the longstanding exchange of ideas between Britain and France; and a life of a man who lived passionately in the moment but whose ideas and achievements were far ahead of his time.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A fresh, urbane history of the dramatic and melodramatic belle epoque...Finely honed biographical intuition and a novelist's sensibility make for a stylish, engrossing narrative." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Full of admiration and deep feeling for its 'progressive, international, and constantly inquisitive' subject, this sparkling account takes on added resonance in a moment marked by a return of nativism." - Publishers Weekly

"Scholars may laud this work's brilliance, but others might find it a difficult read. For serious students of French history or the history of medicine and sexuality." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Julian Barnes Author Biography

Photo: Ellen Warner

Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England on January 19, 1946. He was educated at the City of London School from 1957 to 1964 and at Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated in modern languages (with honors) in 1968. After graduation, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary supplement for three years. In 1977, Barnes began working as a reviewer and literary editor for the New Statesmen and the New Review. From 1979 to 1986 he worked as a television critic, first for the New Statesmen and then for the Observer (London).

Barnes has received several awards and honors for his writing including the Somerset Maugham Award (Metroland 1981), three Booker Prize nominations (Flaubert's Parrot 1984, England, England 1998, Arthur & George 2005); the Geoffrey ...

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Other books by Julian Barnes at BookBrowse
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