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Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

Arthur & George (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Julian Barnes

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3,9641491,293 (3.69)243
Title:Arthur & George
Authors:Julian Barnes
Info:Jonathan Cape (2005), Hardcover
Collections:Your library, Book Group Reads
Tags:Fiction English, Booker shortlisted, Biography, Edwardian, Book Group, Not kept

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Arthur & George by Julian Barnes (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
A great read. Barnes tells in made-up terms the story of George E, an Indian born in England, and Arthur Conan Doyle, the
author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. This actually happened. George is arrested and sent to jail for seven years for
crimes that he did not do.The local police and the judiciary are violently racist, despite their disclaimers, George's trial is a
joke and he is found guilty.. After he is paroled after three years, George writes to Doyle, who believes him and works hard to
get a pardon, but is unsuccessful at getting money for George, because the authorities are so racist, There is a good bit of
stuff about Conan's life and loves (all true) as well.A great book with a dumb ending at a spiritualist funeral for Doyle.

] ( )
  annbury | Apr 21, 2017 |
Arthur & George is a well-written historical fiction of the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, including his platonic relationship with Jean Leakie while his wife was dying slowly of tuberculosis. The plot line of his intercession on behalf of George Edalji, wrongfully charged and convicted of animal abuse, makes for a suspenseful element of the story. The Edjali affair is real, although I am uncertain how closely Barnes stuck to the facts.

There is much detail about Conan Doyle's fervid interest in spiritualism, a rage in the early 20th century about which he was known internationally as a zealous devotee.

There is an excellent sense of Victorian/Edwardian manners and ethos seen through Doyle's attitudes about notions of honor, the role of men in society, especially their conception of women (not appealing to today's sensibilities), and racism towards Edjali, the son of a "Parsee" and a Scottish mother. The prejudice towards persons of color in provincial England is clearly on view in this novel. ( )
  stevesmits | Apr 20, 2017 |
After the first quarter of the story, I got hooked and could hardly put the book down. Mr. Barnes knows how to tell a captivating story! But the end the story was a disappointment for me; the story just fizzled out. A surprise. I expected something unusual to happen because of, or between, the two protagonist. ( )
  jack2410 | Feb 2, 2017 |
This story sounded interesting in theory but when ideas were put to paper it fell flat. There are essentially three parts to this novel and the good and compelling part is the second part which is chiefly about George and where his alleged crime is detailed and a court case ensues. Other than that specific part of the section, the book veers off into too many unnecessary descriptive details about the two main characters and goes off into too many insignificant subjects which are not integral to the main story such as Arthur's interest in spiritualism. It's like the author wanted to tell the story of these two individuals but got sidetracked and put a lot of filler into the story instead. It seems like the author couldn't decide if he wanted this story to be fiction or a biography and the story seems jumbled and uneven as a result. I also found myself not caring much about the two main men in the story especially Arthur who was made out to be somewhat pompous, self-indulgent and self-important by the author. Certain extraneous ideas to the main story were also repeated over and over such as Arthur's feelings of guilt about meeting his future second wife while his first wife dealt with an illness. For the last 50 or 60 pages, I found myself losing focus and to be honest wishing the story would come to an end. The book was much too lengthy and the story could have been told in about 150 less pages.
Overall a good idea for a story and there were some good and engaging parts but ultimately it was weighed down by the need to go away from the main storyline into repetitive and inessential themes. ( )
  seekingbooks3 | Aug 10, 2016 |
I have just finished this book and found it surprisingly fascinating. I was given it some time ago and it has sat on the bookshelf until I recently decided to read it and I'm glad I did.
It's the biographies of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji and how their lives fairly briefly intersected over Edalji's wrongful conviction for horse ripping.
Julian Barnes has taken extensive papers, letters etc and woven a wonderful story out of the characters and events. His interpretation of the characters seems very plausible ( )
  jbennett | May 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Barnes’s suave, elegant prose — alive here with precision, irony and humaneness — has never been used better than in this extraordinary true-life tale, which is as terrifically told as any by its hero Conan Doyle himself.
added by simon_carr | editThe Times, Peter Kemp (Jun 26, 2005)
For all the numerous retellings of Conan Doyle's life, it is hard to imagine that Barnes's semi-fictional version could be bettered in texture or acuity. In his elegant mini-chapters, he unpacks the writer's extraordinary rites of passage: his famous failure as an ophthalmologist; his work on a whaling ship; his sporting prowess - batting for the MCC, skiing Alpine passes; his heroism in the Boer War.
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A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A child wanted to see.
George Edalji died at 9 Brocket Close, Welwyn Garden City, on 17th June 1953; the cause of death was given as coronary thrombosis.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099492733, Paperback)

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize . Arthur and George grow up worlds apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, while George remains in hard-working obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events that made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages. This is a novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race. Most of all it is a profound and moving meditation on the fateful differences between what we believe, what we know and what we can prove.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages.… (more)

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