Arthur & George /

Main Author: Barnes, Julian.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Knopf, 2006.
Edition: 1st American ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

Barnes paid fictional homage to Flaubert more than 20 years ago, and now, in his grandest and most pleasurable work to date, he channels the voice of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The beloved creator of Sherlock Holmes, Doyle was also a spiritualist and an advocate for justice, which led to his involvement with George Edalji. The son of a Scottish mother and a Parsi father, a vicar in Staffordshire, George is bullied at school, and even after he becomes an impeccably correct solicitor his family is viciously harassed. Finally, George is accused of mutilating a pony. Convicted on bogus evidence, he is sentenced to seven years in prison. For Arthur, trapped in a prison of guilt over his wife's long illness and his unconsummated love for another woman, George's case is a liberating cause. Arthur quite enjoys putting the deductive reasoning that distinguishes his fictional hero, Holmes, to work to remedy this blatant miscarriage of justice. But George and his predicament prove to be baffling. Writing convincingly from each man's point of view, Barnes portrays two very different yet equally intense individuals who revere order and reason but entertain persistent fantasies. Marshaling extraordinarily keen psychological and cultural acumen, Barnes turns this historically based tale of prejudice, malevolence, and madness versus honor, stoicism, and ingenuity into a brilliantly incisive and emotionally powerful inquiry into the nature of delusion and hope, perception and interpretation. Sir Arthur has never been more movingly portrayed, and George, whose case served as a catalyst for establishing the Court of Appeals, is simply astonishing. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2006 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician, sportsman, gentleman par excellence and the inventor of Sherlock Holmes; George is George Edalji, also a real, if less well-known person, whose path crossed not quite fatefully with the famous author's. Edalji was the son of a Parsi father (who was a Shropshire vicar), and a Scots mother. In 1903, George, a solicitor, was accused of writing obscene, threatening letters to his own family and of mutilating cattle in his farm community. He was convicted of criminal behavior in a blatant miscarriage of justice based on racial prejudice. Eventually, Sir Arthur ("Irish by ancestry, Scottish by birth") heard about George's case and began to advocate on his behalf. 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. Every line delivered by the many characters-the two principals, their school chums (Barnes sketches their early lives), their families and many incidentals-rings with import. His dramatization of George's trial, in particular, grinds with telling minutiae, and his portrait of Arthur is remarkably rich, even when tackling Doyle's spiritualist side. 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 (1985) and stretching it yet again. 100,000 first printing; 8-city author tour. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

George grows up a poor vicar's son and eventually crosses paths with Arthur, who grows up to create Sherlock Holmes. With a 100,000-copy first printing and a ten-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-This novel tells the tale of two real men: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and George Edalji, an English lawyer of Indian descent. Their lives crossed when Edalji asked Doyle for help following Edalji's unjust conviction for mutilating horses. The narrative moves toward that point, which is in many ways merely the framework that allows Barnes to develop the interior stories of two unusual figures in Victorian and Edwardian England. His Doyle is a latter-day knight-errant, with all the failings and foibles one might expect; Edalji is the model Englishman with an inherent faith in the legal system and race is something that he cannot imagine could matter. Barnes has created two fully realized characters, and readers cannot help but sympathize with them.-Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.