Now a major TV series starring Martin Clunes, Arsher Ali and Art Malik
Julian Barnes is the author of twelve novels, including The Sense of an Ending, which won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. He has also written three books of short stories, Cross Channel, The Lemon Table and Pulse; four collections of essays; and two books of non-fiction, Nothing to be Frightened Of and the Sunday Times Number One bestseller Levels of Life. He lives in London.
This powerful book begins almost painfully slowly but builds strength as it paints increasingly complex portraits of its two central characters. Based on a true story, it reconstructs the intersection of the lives of novelist Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji, an obscure young English solicitor, whose Parsi father is an Anglican vicar. In alternating chapters, mostly titled simply "George" or "Arthur," Barnes traces the lives of both men from their childhoods into the 20th century, when George is imprisoned after being convicted on false charges of mutilating farm animals. After George's release, with his career in ruins, Arthur takes up his cause, hoping to use his celebrity and writing skill to win George a full pardon and compensation. The connection changes both men's lives. As fascinating a character study as one can find in literature, this novel offers insight into the creator of Sherlock Holmes, as well as 19th-century English society and justice. Nigel Anthony's narration adds resonance to the strong emotions that flow through the narrative, making this audiobook a satisfying production in every respect. Highly recommended.-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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 Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A beautiful and engrossing work * Independent on Sunday *
Richly accomplished... Dazzling * Sunday Times *
Excellent... Meticulously researched and vividly imagined, both gripping and thoughtful * Sunday Telegraph *
From the first paragraphs we know ourselves to be in the hands of a major novelist... A compelling narrative, beautifully controlled... This novel is Barnes at his best -- P D James * The Times *
As ever, Barnes serves up a master-class in character observation, lavishing attention on the minutiae of personality, the subtle and conflicting impulses that drive men and women. Barnes seems equipped to write with humour and elegance about anything he turns his attention to * Financial Times *