Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

Arthur & George (original 2005; edition 2012)

by Julian Barnes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6451321,450 (3.68)201
Title:Arthur & George
Authors:Julian Barnes
Info:Vintage (2012), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes (2005)

Recently added byjoririchardson, private library, brianinseattle, Scrambledspirit, vickyballantyne, Subou
  1. 20
    The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (BookGirlVL)
    BookGirlVL: "The Sherlockian" begins with Arthur Conan Doyle plotting the murder of Sherlock Holmes...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 201 mentions

English (126)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (133)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
Description of the lives of 2 unique characters in the England of around 1900.
George Edlaji,is the son of a Parsee countryside vicar and of his scottish wife. Due to his background and eduction is he is quite unique. He becomes a lawyer in a nearby city. He is the victim of a defamation campaign which culminates in the mutilation of animals. He gets arrested and found guilty. Freed he asks for the help of Arthur Doyle.
Arthur descends from mothers side from declining nobility. His father is weak and addicted to liquor. Arthur becomes a doctor, but knows success thought his dectective novels of Sherlock Holmes. He has a strong sense of justice and accepts the case of George.
Arthus will succeed in proving the innocence of George, but he cumbersome English establishment will not follow him completely.
As a consequence of this controversial affair the court of appeal will be created.

quite unique detective history (based on true facts)
well written
magnificent description of those 2 totally different lives, which will in the end get entangled
Quite some attention is given to the belief in spiritism of Arthur.

Well written out of life detective story. ( )
  albertkep | Feb 2, 2014 |
Based on actual events, Barnes' novel is about a young man who was convicted of animal mutilation, and Arthur Conan Doyle's efforts to exonerate him.

Other than the animal mutilation, which was integral to the book, I enjoyed it. I generally find it interesting whan an author takes an obscure event and creates a work of fiction.

The writing was strong and the characters were exceptionally well-drawn, each speaking in an authentic, distinct voice. This is the first book I've read by this author, and I would definitely read his work again. ( )
  bookwoman247 | Jan 11, 2014 |
Going into this book I did not realize how much of it was inspired by actual events. At the end in the author's note when Barnes mentions that all of the letters/newspaper articles (except for one) used in this story were authentic and quoted verbatim I was super surprised. The narrative seemed so compelling and fantastic; it certainly came across as more of a "rip-roaring yarn" than real life. I don't doubt that Barnes spiced up all of the in between bits to make the story more readable, but still... to mash together truth and fiction as seamlessly as he did is quite an achievement.

I thought that parts of this book dragged a little and were a bit dry (e.g. some of the trial scenes), but it was very enjoyable on the whole. Also, reading this has definitely inspired me to take a deeper look into the bibliography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you are drawn to stories about late-Victorian Britain then this seems like a book you'd almost certainly enjoy. ( )
  andrewreads | Jan 10, 2014 |
The real story of a half Indian lawyer in England who is accused of killing horses and writing threatening letters in 1903. His case is taken up by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This case helped create the British Court of Appeals, which hadn't yet been created in 1907. Amazing story. ( )
  stuart10er | Sep 27, 2013 |
I picked up this book at a library sale because I initially misremembered Julian Barnes for Julian Fellowes. When I read the synopsis though, I put it in my bag. From the opening words, I knew I made a good choice.

“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.” p. 1

From a character perspective, George is the stronger and I wondered just how the hell he would make it through life with his backward and terrified nature. The campaign of pranks and harassment was really bizarre. I could easily imagine how frightening it would be. Disturbing. The animal mutilations were worse. Sickos. All during those episodes though, I wondered if we were seeing George accurately. Could he be really responsible, but either lying about it or subject to fugue states that he was unaware of? At the end, I decided that he probably was truly innocent, but what a weirdo he was. I didn’t have that much sympathy for him. People like that are natural victims and I think he brought some of it on himself.

Two things I wanted more clarity on were the reasons the police suspected him in the first place and why Doyle took on the case. The prejudice against the Edalji family was pretty clear, but not the reasons for it except the obvious; that dad was Indian and that made George a half-caste (and just how G could go so far through life not realizing this fact is really mind-boggling). Anson kept implying he had more information about the crimes, but wouldn’t share it so we’re left pretty much in the dark. And what made Doyle decide to help George out of the probably hundreds of other requests? He says something like he was just struck by the miscarriage of justice, but really? Eh, I’d have liked more concrete answers to both questions.

Basically the story of Arthur and George is one of contrasts; philosophical v. literal. George can barely think in the abstract while Arthur rarely leaves it, except, weirdly, when he’s writing fiction. He must be very persuasive, because it seems his very traditionally-minded and religious wife is convinced in the end, that spiritism is not evil and seems to embrace it. If such an event of mass-mediums really happened after Doyle’s death, I see why Barnes put it in, but I didn’t really like it. It didn’t seem to wrap up anything. In terms of Doyle’s beliefs, I can see how it fits, but as a story epilogue it was strange. As strange as these words from Jean to George at her and Arthur’s wedding reception -

“I expect we shall be interrupted at any moment, and in any case I was not intending to explain. You may never know what I mean. But I am grateful to you in a way you cannot guess. And so it is quite right that you are here.” ( )
  Bookmarque | Aug 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (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.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
to P.K.
First words
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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:10 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
104 avail.
50 wanted
6 pay8 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.68)
0.5 4
1 14
1.5 4
2 48
2.5 17
3 244
3.5 99
4 409
4.5 56
5 128


Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 93,329,380 books! | Top bar: Always visible