❮Read❯ ➮ Arthur & George ➲ Author Julian Barnes – Pdfr25.co

Arthur & George As Boys, George, The Son Of A Midlands Vicar, And Arthur, Living In Shabby Genteel Edinburgh, Find Themselves In A Vast And Complex World At The Heart Of The British Empire Years Later One Struggling With His Identity In A World Hostile To His Ancestry, The Other Creating The World S Most Famous Detective While In Love With A Woman Who Is Not His Wife Their Fates Become Inextricably ConnectedIn Arthur George, Julian Barnes Explores The Grand Tapestry Of Late Victorian Britain To Create His Most Intriguing And Engrossing Novel Yet


10 thoughts on “Arthur & George

  1. says:

    THE BLURB As boys, George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, living in shabby genteel Edinburgh, find themselves in a vast and complex world at the heart of the British Empire Years later one struggling with his identity in a world hostile to his ancestry, the other creating the world s most famous detective while in love with a woman who is not his wife their fates become inextricably connected.In Arthur George , Julian Barnes explores the grand tapestry of late Victorian Britain to create his most intriguing and engrossing novel yet. It s the first time ever, that I immediately, within seconds after starting the book, had to confirm the meaning of a word tourism Yes, imagined that.The author starts this book with this introductory paragraph A child wants to see It always begins like this, and it began like this then A child wanted to see 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. Striking use of the word, right The official definition of the word the commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest. How would anyone want to close a book beginning like that.Using the word in the context of the opening paragraph, the tone is set for the book, the author s approach to history is established, the purpose of this novel confirmed The books of Julian Barnes is an acquired taste While the author seeks to tell a story, he does it with a slow pen, meticulous research and a challenging angle to everything Sir Arthur Conan Doyle probably inherited his love of storytelling from his mother Mary ne Foley who loved to entertain her younger children with ghost and other nightmarish stories, sinking her voice to a horror stricken whisper His mother s alternative approach challenged her children to question everything, to seek the truth wherever it may be hidden The rebel in this young boy was firmly established His father, an artist and alcoholic did not play a significant role in the young man s life At home he learned extra commandments on top of the ten he knew from church Fearless to the strong humble to the weak, was one, and Chivalry towards women, of high and low degree He felt them to be important, since they came directly from the Mam they also demanded practical implementationThe Christian virtues could be practiced by everyone, from the humble to the high born But chivalry was the prerogative of the powerful The knight protected his lady the strong aided the weak honour was a living thing for which you should be prepared to die. His background and education would later lead to four personas in one intellectually gifted person Arthur the scholar and medical student, the humanitarian Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the famous author Dr Conan Doyle who offered his medical expertise during the Anglo Boer War among other things and his most controversial persona,the spiritualist or rather, strong advocate for spiritualism He was neither agnostic, nor atheist But he strongly defended the right of every human being to cut out the middleman between the living and the departed on this earth I mistrust faith, which is the biggest metaphor of all I have done with faith I can only work with the clear white light of knowledge The whole point of psychical research, he explains, is to eliminate and expose fraud and deceit To leave only what can be scientifically confirmed If you eliminate the impossible, what is left, however improbable, must be the truth Spiritism is not asking you to take a leap in the dark, or cross a bridge you have not yet come to God and the Jesus who are claimed by a Church which for centuries has been corrupt both spiritually and intellectually And which demands of its followers the suspension of rational faculties If you look at what it actually says in the Bible, if you ignore the way in which the text has been altered and misinterpreted to suit the will of the established churches, it s quite clear that Jesus was a highly trained psychic or medium The inner circle of the Apostles, especially Peter, James and John, were clearly chosen for their spiritist capabilities The miracles of the Bible are merely well, not merely, wholly examples of Jesus s psychic powers Clergy But it is what, historically, they have been Middlemen, intermediaries Conveyors of the truth at first, but increasingly controllers of the truth, obfuscators, politicians The Cathars were on the right line, that of direct access to God untrammelled by layers of hierarchy Naturally they were wiped out by Rome Arthur George brings the persona alive Not all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Only the part that is necessary to built the background to the internationally reported criminal case in which the famous and beloved creator of Sherlock Holmes took on the Victorian establishment after an innocent man, George Ernest Thompson Edalji, a Parsi English solicitor and son of a vicar in Great Wyrley, a South Staffordshire village, served three years hard labour after being convicted on a charge of mutilating a pony George 1876 1953 was of mix race with his mom a Scottish woman, Charlotte Edalji n e Stoneham , and his father,Reverend Shapurji Edalji, from India.This widely publicized, curious, and controversial case was one of the factors which played a role in establishing the Court of Criminal Appeal for England in 1907 It was only in 2013 that the case against George Edalji was declared a farce by Solicitor General Oliver Heald Alternative chapters introduced the backstories of both Arthur and George, leading up to this case Part of Arthur s backstory included his murder and resurrection of his famous detective Sherlock Holmes He is quite clear about the writer s responsibilities they are firstly, to be intelligible, secondly, to be interesting, and thirdly, to be clever He knows his own abilities, and he also knows that in the end the reader is king That is why Mr Sherlock Holmes was brought back to life, allowed to have escaped the Reichenbach Falls thanks to a knowledge of esoteric Japanese wrestling holds and an ability to scramble up sheer rock faces. Julian Barnes disciplined himself by selecting only the biographical information needed for this novel, and skillfully, but cautiously, brought the two main characters alive One can sense his deliberate effort to skim off the essentials, often losing colorful aspects of both persons s lives story in the process, resulting in a somewhat sterile, bleached, fact based documentary novel.However, the emotions and passion came truly alive in the last third of the book when the drama was splashed all over the media, with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the instigator of the vigorous debate and anger hitting the world Three years after George Edalji was jailed, the famous and internationally beloved author threw his weight in behind George The 10 000 letters of objection, including hundreds by lawyers, could not prevent George from going to jail A June 1907 memo by Home secretary Herbert Gladstone was discovered 80 years later, which revealed that one of the lawyers who had represented Edalji had privately told Gladstone of suppressing a letter by Edalji which his brother Horace had brought as a specimen of Edalji s handwriting because it was damaging to the defense s case Source Wikipedia But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got him pardoned, leaving the establishment red faced and embarrassed 1907 He used his Sherlock Holmes skills to get behind the truth He read and reread, sorted and re sorted, analysed, compared, annotated Gradually, hints turned to suspicions and then to hypotheses. More than 115 years later his theories were confirmed Like his visual of a underwater tunnel connecting France to Britain for which he had to endure ridicule, this case got him publicly lynched and slaughtered at the time, yet history proved him correct In many ways the world was not ready for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1859 1930 However, he was ready for the world and he took them on full throttle.So yes, with the mere instinctive tourism of infancy, I ventured into the novel and came out delighted, cleverly entertained and informed.


  2. says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable and, from what I can divine, historically accurate, telling of the intersecting lives of George Edalji and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The former being the earnest son of a country Vicar, a myopic solicitor, who also happens to be half South Asian in ancestry The latter being the fascinating, chivalrous, athletic, literary inventor of Sherlock Holmes Their lives meet for less than a year, when Doyle comes across Edalji s case one which can only be described as a grave miscarriage of justice and does everything in his power to right George s wronged name.This is the first time I have read a book by Julian Barnes, and I m very impressed This was meticulously researched, and beautifully written He brought out the characters fairly without being overly sentimental He was quite thorough, beginning at childhood for both the main characters, so it isn t until the halfway point that Arthur and George finally meet While this provides richness to the story, it also makes for a rather slow start to the book.In addition to following the case, which highlights the racism experienced by an English man in his own country, there is going on here Stories of love and marriages, and themes of religious belief including the controversial spiritism light the pages The contrast of George s small and humble life with Doyle s far reaching, enigmatic one The power of rumour and suggestion I also was very interested in how Doyle found real life sleuthing somehow deflating vs the way truth shows itself in satisfying drama in books.Other tidbits I savoured ACD felt embarrassed and punished by the character of his famous detective guests at Sir Arthur s 2nd wedding featured literary luminaries such as Bram Stoker and J.M Barrie Doyle investigated and helped to exonerate other wrongfully convicted people in his life, and also played amateur sleuth in the 5 day disappearance of new mystery writer Agatha ChristieNot a fast page turner, this is a rich and thoughtful homage to two very differing people who had a meaningful impact on each other s lives.


  3. says:

    It is all in the themes, I guess, and few writers write about themes that get under my skin in quite the same way that Barnes does All the same, I d better not run ahead of myself.This book is based on a true story I had wondered if it was true as I was reading it and although I knew that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was or less real if somewhat larger than life there was still the possibility that Barnes had just slotted him into a work of otherwise complete fiction to make some sort of point or other probably to do with Sherlock Holmes I knew nothing, of course, of George Edaliji, despite, it turns out, the important role his case proved in later legal history Like in A Clockwork Orange, there are few fears greater than when incredibly stupid people have complete power over you There is nothing frightening than people who know something is the case, know it with all of their hearts To be the victim of such irrational certainty is a terrifying idea and one that occurs far too often in reality.It is hard not to love a story in which a great wrong is committed, particularly if there is then also hope of redemption You know, Christianity would have remained just a curious little Jewish sect if it wasn t for the aching need people have for redemption The best of fiction, and this is the best of fiction, presents human redemption in a way that is much convincing and, to me at least, much moving than religion does I suspect that I simply don t have the imagination required to believe in humanity wide redemption and can only cope with an individual level redemption.As I m writing this review I m trying to avoid needing to put a spoiler alert on it Look, it is easy to find the story behind this novel Wikipedia was where I turned when my curiosity got the better of me fortunately, late enough in the novel for me to have worked out how this story was likely to pan out , but they are called spoilers for good reason There were parts of this story which I was very glad I did not know what happened next beforehand I was born with a rather bad astigmatism, so I have a natural affinity with anyone similarly afflicted I also have spent the last eight years representing people who have found themselves in trouble and were unable to represent themselves So, there were many parts of this book in which I saw myself reflected back at me if in a slightly distorted mirror The bits I ve mentioned are the parts where this is easiest to mention, where it can be mentioned with some sense of self satisfaction, at least in part Where I saw myself and found it much harder to continue looking was around the relationship between Sir Arthur and Jane particularly after his first wife died and his daughter told him that her mother said, on her deathbed no less, that he would be likely to marry again I ve played exactly these sorts of games too, and like everyone else who has played them, I ve lost and won in much the same ways Few writers capture the complexity of human relations sexual as well as emotional for me with quite the same shock of recognition that Barnes does.And then there s death of course Barnes has made a concerted effort over recent years to make this theme his own, as if he is laying claim to the kingdom of death in contemporary fiction Or at least, the kingdom of thinking about the nature of death and why it haunts us so much He reminds me of a modern day Montaigne Montaigne said somewhere in his essays that his way of confronting the horrors of death was to think about it at least once a day so that thereby he would make it familiar and so no longer something that needed to be feared The scene at the end of this book where George confronts the ubiquity of death on a walk about a park on a pleasant Sunday evening is a lovely example of this most human and possibly inevitable of preoccupations.Holmes is also a constant shadow across this book It is a strange thing I nearly finished reading all of the Holmes stories recently, but one of the things that was completely clear was that Doyle didn t enjoy writing them, particularly not the stories after Holmes came back from the dead There is a snideness in the writing that needs to be ignored to really enjoy the stories This is something Barnes makes clear in this book too But he also plays with Holmes in other ways this is, after all, a detective mystery and having Doyle in the staring role makes interesting comparisons inevitable.Perhaps my favourite part of the entire book is where Doyle spends a weekend with Captain Anson and like Shakespeare, Barnes puts the most fascinating and thought provoking lines in the mouth of the least likeable character.The other thing this book does is make you think about how easy it is to put ideas into people s heads and how hard it is to get those ideas out of your head again Was George a sexual deviant Was he too fond of his sister How easy it is to pollute the mind of someone And how easy it is for us to get carried away and to do too much for someone we want to help and thereby destroy whatever hope we had of truly helping them in the first place.And racism of course, racism is a horribly obvious theme in this book, whether George admits it or not.You might find this book a bit slow, but it will get under your skin Like the best fiction always does, it keeps coming into my mind and Barnes has handled these intricate and complex of themes in ways that can t do anything other than fascinate.


  4. says:

    The eponymous Arthur is Arthur Conan Doyle, who is living in Edinburgh George is the son of a Midlands vicar The novel is set in late Victorian Britain, and follows the lives of both boys through to adulthood One follows Law, the other Medicine One is a victim of a series of bizarre pranks neither s destiny is what it first appears to be For the first half of the book they are unaware of each other s existence One experiences outrageous accusation, the other unrivalled success One stands in the dock owing to a miscarriage of justice, whilst the other has the success he desired, but at a price What is believed to be true may not be true Faith, ambition, English reserve, honour, racism, self recrimination and guilt all play a part George Edalji has issues about his identity he is a Parsee living in genteel Victorian society How these two lives intertwine is intriguing and cleverly written, but there are passages about the mutilation of horses which are relentlessly cruel and upsetting These may well be based on real life events The novel is pseudohistorical.This novel has a unique concept that of following the life story of a famous celebrated writer, but giving equal weight to another person whose life history has been entirely forgotten.


  5. says:

    Arthur George is historical fiction at its best This novel trails two lives, George an Anglo Indian son of a vicar, and the famed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle George, who is possibly on the Asperger syndrome spectrum, suffers racism and prejudice from the all white English children doesn t look like much has changed in parts of the UK today at school As an adult, little has changed in the small town as George is framed and sentenced for a crime that he has not committed.Arthur, who would appear manic or bi polar in the modern era, sees a chance to become his own Sherlock Holmes type in real life and takes on the case gratis.Part of the secret to the success of the novel, I feel, is that Julian Barnes also wrote crime fiction for a while under an alias, and he really utilises those skills in Arthur George This novel is a wonderful exploration of the ideologies of the era, with deep characterisation It moves seamlessly between multiple genre from realist, to drama, to thriller, to crime, to courtroom drama It s a marvelous work and a must read for any lover of historical or literary fiction It s magnificent.


  6. says:

    What a great premise for a work of historical fiction Take a larger than life figure known to all, make him larger still, and overlay his story on top of one with little fame but deserving of The acclaimed character was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who turned out to be even intriguing than his detective stories would suggest From early days in Mam s kitchen listening to chivalric tales of adventure, to heroics in sports and at war, Arthur liked thinking of himself as an honorable knight of the realm Sherlock, if anything, is downplayed in this account while the events ultimately connecting Arthur to George are brought to the fore Without tripping the spoiler alarm, I can say that George had a stolid, less imaginative life growing up in a vicarage His small bit of fame made quite a story, though And thanks to Arthur, post Victorian England came to know it And thanks to Julian Barnes, we ve come to know it, too Barnes made the telling seem so effortless He evoked the formal era, but in a readable way What s , he gave the characters plausible words and thoughts It was well researched, clearly, often using personal letters as sources The only reason I take a star away from an otherwise fabulous book is that an extrapolation in George s thoughts at the end didn t ring true for me I strongly recommend 99.8% of this book, and I thank the astute Anglophile I married for recommending it to me.


  7. says:

    I find reading about real life miscarriages of justice very disturbing, particularly when they occur in a country with a well developed legal system in which the rule of law prevails They make interesting reading, though, and this account of an early 20th century miscarriage of justice is no exception It s made all the interesting by the involvement of the Arthur of the title Arthur Conan Doyle The story should be better known, given its importance to the English legal system and therefore to legal systems based on the English system.While Arthur Conan Doyle, needs no introduction, I d not heard of the George of the title previously He is George Edalji, an Anglo Indian solicitor and son of a clergyman The narrative, in alternating chapters, follows the lives of both men from childhood onwards It s a well written novel that in content, although not in style, reads like non fiction As far as I can gather from some cursory research on the interwebs, Barnes got the history right Not much can be said about that history without going into spoilers Suffice to say, the miscarriage of justice sees Edjali convicted or a crime he didn t commit and Doyle involved in a campaign to exonerate him Those aspects of the narrative were quite enough to ensure that the lawyer in me remained interested However, this is also in effect a biography of Conan Doyle I ve read my fair share of Sherlock Holmes stories, but I m not a die hard fan and I wouldn t have gone out of my way to read a conventional biography of their author There was a section in the middle of the book dealing, if I remember correctly, with Conan Doyle s marital woes that I found less then totally compelling, but still interesting enough I ve not read Barnes before, although I ve always meant to I liked his prose a lot I also liked the narrative structure, the evocation of time and place and the manner in which the two central characters are developed However, in this case, it s the book for me, rather than the author While I don t see myself racing off to read Barnes entire oeuvre, I very much enjoyed reading this sample of it Anyone with an interest in the legal system will probably have a similar reaction.


  8. says:

    I give five stars sparingly, so I was torn between giving and four and a five here Ultimately, though, when I considered that I d put aside all other tasks one weekend to devote to finishing this book, I decided that this was five star material.The last book I d read by Barnes, England, England was a bit of a disappointment it came off, it seemed to me, like second rate Tom Sharpe But this book was a different matter I especially liked the way it unfolded, alternating from one central character to the other, shedding light on both in the process I resisted going to the Internet to see if in fact Barnes had created the George character, and when, after finishing the book, I read that George was based on a real person, the creation of the character seemed even impressive There s a realism underpinning the book that speaks to how shall I put this mature audiences Let s just say after fifty or so, a measured approach to life emerges, and as such speaking personally here , there s less patience with relentlessly upbeat or rosily romantic themes Arthur and George resonates on a variety of levels, not the least of which is a clear eyed appraisal of the nature of relationships personal, romantic, and family Finally, those interested in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods will be struck by how effortlessly Barnes puts the reader into that milieu.


  9. says:

    Revisited for the 2019 Mookse Madness tournament.A book I originally read for my Book Group in 2006 alongside re reading a number of Sherlock Holmes stories I would count myself as a Holmes fan having read all of the original adventures and short stories.This novel tells two stories from childhood Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji a half caste son a Parsee Staffordshire vicar George and his family do not mix with the community partly from the prejudice they encounter but partly on his father s strict views of proper behaviour George is myopic and lonely but trains as a solicitor and publishes a book on railway law His family, as well as others in the parish are victims of a or possibly several hate campaigns These cease for a long period but then resume with a series of livestock mutilations the police always convinced that George was perpetrator of the initial hoaxes on his own family arrest him and he is convicted on circumstantial evidence and only released after several years and with no pardon despite a public outcry.Arthur by then sick of Sherlock Holmes and at the time lethargic, finds his interest in life awakened by finally agreeing to take on one of the many cases that are sent to him unsolicited due to his fictional creation and crusades on George s behalf We learn much about Arthur s growing interest in spiritualism and belief that the 20th Century will provide a scientific breakthrough in understanding of the afterlife The most interesting parts are when Arthur confronts the police chief with his clear view of George s innocence and of the actual truth and is in turn confronted with the view that the real world of crime solving and jury persuasion as well as the notions of guilt innocence and of what it means to know something, are much greyer in real life than in the black and white world of Holmes.The book is written in different chapters from the viewpoint of different characters and in a kind of old fashioned pseudo biographical style which is the same for all characters The book is surprisingly gripping and definitely an enjoyable read although the ending seemed an anti climax although partly this was I think deliberate making the very point about the lack of clear cut endings in real life.


  10. says:

    What is better, a so so book with a great ending, or a good book with a disappointing one The latter for me, but I was let down, after enjoying this story all the way through, to have it end with such a whimper Later I read that the story was true all the way, which did make me understanding It is about a miscarriage of justice in the early 20th century George, a young solicitor of Indian origin, is falsely accused of killing a slew of horses in his area, and convicted His defense is poor and both the police, legal establishment and jury is clearly racist Later, after he has served his sentence but is prevented from going back to his profession, he appeals to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who enthusiastically takes up his case and gets him a pardon, though not as complete a one as a modern reader would like We follow both Arthur and George from the beginning of their lives and become very attached to them as characters, which is why the lack of a ringing resolution is a let down Also, various elements are not satisfactorily tied up, and the last scene is a kind of public seance that was held after Sir Arthur s death he was a great believer in spiritualism, or spiritism, as he called it and I couldn t figure out what it had to do with the main thrust of the book But, as I said, that is a disadvantage of not being able to move away from facts It was a wry, compassionate, often witty book and you come to care for the characters very much.