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Arthur & George

Barnes, Julian

Published by Knopf, 2006
ISBN 10: 030726310X / ISBN 13: 9780307263100
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About the Book

Bibliographic Details

Title: Arthur & George

Publisher: Knopf

Publication Date: 2006

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket

Edition: 1st Edition.


New York. 2006. Knopf. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 388 pages. January 2006. hardcover. Jacket art: 'London, from Pentonville Road Looking West: Evening', 1884 (detail). Signed by The Author. 030726310x. keywords: Literature England Flaubert. inventory # 19148. FROM THE PUBLISHER - Brilliantly imagined and irresistibly readable, Arthur & George is a major novel from Julian Barnes, a wonderful combination of playfulness, pathos and wisdom. Searching for clues, no one would ever guess that the lives of Arthur and George might intersect. Growing up in shabby-genteel nineteenth-century Edinburgh, Arthur is saddled with a dad who is a disgrace and a mum he wishes to protect, and is propelled into a life of action. To his astonishment, his career as a self-made man of letters brings him riches and fame and, in the world at large, he becomes the perfect picture of the honorable English gentlemen. George is irredeemably an outsider, and has no hope of becoming such a picture. Though heís dogged and logical, a vicarís son from rural Staffordshire, he is set apart, and he and his family are targeted in his boyhood by a poison-pen campaign. George finds safe harbour in the reliability of rules, and grows up to become a solicitor, putting his faith in the insulating value of British justice. Then crisis upsets the uneasy equilibrium of both menís lives. Arthur is knocked for a loop by guilt and other dishonourable emotions. George is put to the sorest test, accused of a horrible crime. And from that point on their lives weave together in the most profound and surprising way, as each man becomes the otherís salvation. Arthur & George is a masterful novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race. Most of all, itís a profound and witty meditation on the fateful differences between what we believe, what we know and what we can prove. . Bookseller Inventory # 19148

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Synopsis: From one of England?s most esteemed novelists, an utter astonishment that captures an era through one life celebrated internationally and another entirely forgotten.

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 wait?an 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.?

Book Description: "Precise, elegant, enchanting." -- Elle

"Utterly absorbing, beautifully crafted . . . Arthur & George, rich and immensely readable, perfectly balances [its] radically different characters in a stream of flawless, driving sentences. The book is also sustained by Barnes's affectionate understanding of England's halting commitment both to art and to justice. This is an "English" novel in the most engaging sense of the word, and a great one." --Vince Passaro, O Magazine

"A beautiful, modulated work; highly recommended." --Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, starred review

"In this combination psychological novel, detective story and literary thriller, Barnes elegantly dissects early 20th-century English society as he spins this true-life story with subtle and restrained irony . . . Shortlisted for the Booker, this novel about love, guilt, identity and honor is a triumph of storytelling, taking the form Barnes perfected in Flaubert's Parrot and stretching it yet again." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Enthralling . . . Deeply satisfying . . . With a mystery at the heart of the narrative, every detail is a potential, welcome clue." -- Kirkus, starred review

"His most engrossing novel ever." --Jay McInerney, New York Observer

Acclaim from the United Kingdom

"Sprightly and acute." --Robert Winder, New Statesman

"Powerfully moving, beautifully wrought and accomplished." -- Glasgow Herald

"From the first paragraphs we know ourselves to be in the hands of a major novelist and are borne forward by a compelling narrative, beautifully controlled, which combines the satisfactions of biography, social history and the excitement of a real-life detective story. This novel is Barnes at his best." --PD James, The Times

" Arthur & George acquires a hypnotic force. The character study, the feel for the period and the dialogue are all beautifully done. And the way in which the police close in on Edalji is genuinely chilling . . . the mark of a true novelist." --Andrew Martin, Daily Express

"What Barnes has done is to imagine, describe and dramatise this true story with fantastic control and subtlety . . . probably Barnes?s best yet." --David Sexton , Evening Standard

"[A] beguiling and enormously readable novel." --Andrew Taylor, The Independent

"One of the shrewdest English novelists, [Barnes] has an uncannily acute sense of what makes people, of all sorts, tick . . . What is remarkable, though, is the subtlety with which he goes about hijacking our fascination. In knowing what makes a great story, he has the instincts of a tabloid journalist, but in its delivery he displays the delicacy of a connoisseur who understands how to mete out his tale so quietly that when it bites, its mark is indelible . . . [ Arthur and George] is a wholly absorbing portrait of late Victorian Britain and the attitudes it nurtured [and a] powerfully moving, beautifully wrought and accomplished novel." --Rosemary, Goring, The Herald

"A beautiful and engrossing work which brings together some classic Barnesian themes (love, identity), introduces some new ones (spirituality, guilt and innocence), and hangs them all on a real-life miscarriage of justice from 100 years ago that was always going to be a gift for the first writer to spot its potential for re-imagining . . . We are in a late-19th century world of fob chains and propelling pencils, of order, duty, and propriety. But dark forces are at work, and the manner in which George becomes a victim of them is all the more shocking for the elegance and restraint of Barnes's narrative voice . . . It's like seeing Henry James turned loose on The Shawshank Redemption." --Simon O'Hagan, The Independent on Sunday

"Excellent . . . Both meticulously researched and vividly imagined, both gripping and thoughtful . . . You will turn the pages with mounting and almost intolerable tension." --Caroline Moore, The Sunday Telegraph

"One of the year's finest novels . . . This is the kind of book Arthur Conan Doyle could never have written (far deeper psychological insight, far more sophisticated use of irony and awareness of the limits of fiction), yet it has all of the master's narrative panache . . . I can't think of a novel I've read in the last couple of years where the characters walk off the page as unstoppably as they do in Barnes's portrait of Doyle and Edalji . . . You want political, social, legal context? You want Holmesian detail? You want to understand how spiritualism started up in an increasingly rational age? You want all that woven into the plot as subtly as the late Victorian language also is? It's all here . . . Barnes is showing us just what fiction can do and up to what point we can believe in it . . . but in subtly shading in the differences between the verbs 'believe,' 'think,' and 'know,'; in doing all that with superb characterization, riveting dialogue and all the while giving us a totally credible context, Julian Barnes makes an outstanding case for what the novel can do." --David Robinson, The Scotsman

"Delightful . . . A thoroughly engrossing novel . . . that gradually enfolds the reader in a rich sense of period and place." --Andrew Crumey, Scotland on Sunday

"Richly accomplished . . . 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." --Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times

"With characteristically engaging intelligence, [Barnes] has taken the bones of a long-dead history and imbued them with vivid and memorable life." --Tim Adams, The Observer

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