HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Arthur & George (2005)

by Julian Barnes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,5741701,917 (3.7)1 / 308
Arthur & George is based on the true story of two men. One is Arthur Conan Doyle, the other is George Edalji, a solicitor from Birmingham. Their nineteenth-century lives are worlds and miles apart, until a series of shocking events brings them together. In dubious circumstances, George is found guilty of harming animals and is sentenced to seven years' penal servitude, a future of ignominious obscurity. However, when Arthur, who is now one of the most famous men in the land as creator of Sherlock Holmes, hears of this racist miscarriage of justice he decides to clear George's name. Told against the backdrop of Arthur's family life, his own passionate affair with the woman who was to become the second Lady Conan Doyle and his wife's lengthy battle with TB, this extraordinary novel is a dazzling exercise in detection.… (more)
Loading...

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

» See also 308 mentions

English (163)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
I regard late 19th/early 20th century spiritualism as an embarrassing phase in western thought. For example the portrayal in Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson shows the villagers' craving for excitement and spookiness and their willingness to be duped. But this book made me reconsider. One of our protagonists is a medical doctor and quite sure that scientific discoveries will be followed by spiritual discoveries. The superstition of the past will be swept away by new understanding based on research and observation. Yes, he allows, 99% of mediums are fakers. But that means that 1% are genuine and that is a great thing. I am less embarrassed by the whole thing after reading that.

The coverage of the animal slashings and court proceedings I found too much to bear so skipped ahead. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
I find Julian Barnes a clever thoughtful writer who can adapt to various writing styles. Of the four books I have read by him my favourite has been Flaubert's Parrot where Barnes' love for things French and his well researched background on the life of Gustave Flaubert shone through. Arthur and George is in a similar vein to his Flaubert book in that it takes as its basis an historical event involving a famous author: in this case Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and fleshes out the story by imagining the thoughts and actions of the characters involved. The author adds his own perspective to the events and so the reader is treated to his informed views of his subjects and these must ring true for an enjoyment of the book. It all worked pretty well for me.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously took up the case of George Edalji, who had written to him claiming he was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. George had been convicted of maiming animals in and around the village of Wyrley in Staffordshire. He had been sentenced to 7 years penal servitude, but had been released after serving three years. George was a working solicitor and the son of the local vicar, he was of Indian descent and being a shy man kept himself to himself. He seemed to have a watertight alibi for the charge in question and much of the evidence against him was circumstantial. This is the only known case where Sir Arthur used his skills as a writer of detective fiction to research and re-investigate an actual criminal offence.

Julian Barnes introduces his two main subjects by providing a biography of each in alternate short passages. The reader has to wait for well over half the book for the first meeting between the two. Barnes by this time has fixed the contrasting characters firmly in his readers mind. The rich, successful, gentleman adventurer that is Conan Doyle and the slightly repressed unambitious solicitor scraping a living in the Midlands that is George. Two men who have little in common socially, but come together, because one of them writes to the other and finds a recipient whose interest and humanity is piqued by an injustice. The reader is well aware of the events in George's life by this time, especially the circumstances that have led to his conviction. Barnes takes the readers through George's trial almost point by point. If the aim of this passage is to stir up in the reader a sense of injustice, then the amount of detail used tended to numb the effect for me. The writing is prosaic and this would be my main criticism of the novel, Barnes is so intent on explaining why things happened he does not always spark emotion in the reader. It is if he is writing a Victorian Detective novel.

Arthur and George held my interest, but only just. I felt that the novel was overlong and there was too much detail. Perhaps because he had chosen such an unemotional character in George this was necessary and because Conan Doyle strove to uphold gentlemanly values at all times this made both his characters; too one dimensional. I found myself yearning for something to shake these people out of the ruts that had been chosen for them, however as this novel is based on historical facts this was not going to happen. I found myself wondering if these events warranted such a biographical approach and so 3.5 stars. ( )
2 vote baswood | Jul 3, 2021 |
I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes. It was even more fun to read about his author out sleuthing in the real world. I loved meeting George. I loved how this time in history was treated and have already added other Julian Barnes books to my queue. ( )
  ednasilrak | Jun 17, 2021 |
Slow to get going with its multiple shifts in point of view, but once the background to Arthur and George is explained what is understood is that there is a mystery to be solved. Rich period detail of late Victorian, early Edwardian England. I did not wish to include any spoilers in this review. ( )
  MAR67 | May 5, 2021 |
I enjoyed it and felt like it was heading toward being a 4-star book, but in the end it felt a little flabby and would've been better with about 50 pages shaved off. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (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.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barnes, Julianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anthony, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiel, Frans van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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.
Quotations
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
This is the book; do not combine with film/video
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Arthur & George is based on the true story of two men. One is Arthur Conan Doyle, the other is George Edalji, a solicitor from Birmingham. Their nineteenth-century lives are worlds and miles apart, until a series of shocking events brings them together. In dubious circumstances, George is found guilty of harming animals and is sentenced to seven years' penal servitude, a future of ignominious obscurity. However, when Arthur, who is now one of the most famous men in the land as creator of Sherlock Holmes, hears of this racist miscarriage of justice he decides to clear George's name. Told against the backdrop of Arthur's family life, his own passionate affair with the woman who was to become the second Lady Conan Doyle and his wife's lengthy battle with TB, this extraordinary novel is a dazzling exercise in detection.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.7)
0.5 3
1 15
1.5 4
2 54
2.5 18
3 289
3.5 112
4 492
4.5 65
5 155

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 164,458,122 books! | Top bar: Always visible