Julian Barnes: Arthur George



It is all in the themes I guess and few writers write about themes that get under my skin in uite the same way that Barnes does All the same I d better not run ahead of myselfThis 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 somew 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 uite 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 998% of this book and I thank the astute Anglophile I married for recommending it to me The lives of two very different men intersected in the early 20th Century Arthur Conan Doyle was the famous author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries a medical doctor and a sportsman George Edalji was the son of a Vicar from India The extremely near sighted man with a logical mind studied law George was a victim of unfounded accusations and convicted of a crime he did not commit Racial prejudice and a web of speculation rather than the truth led to George s conviction Arthur was upset with the miscarriage of justice and worked to clear George s nameThe beginning of the book was very choppy with alternating short chapters about the boyhoods of each man but the later chapters became longer and smoother I enjoyed learning about the life of Arthur Conan Doyle his family the causes he championed and his interest in spiritualism George Edalji s story was told in great detail and with compassion The book explored themes of truth honor justice racial prejudice and faith 35 stars 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 connectedIn Arthur George Julian Barnes explores the grand tapestry of late Victorian Britain to create his most intriguing and engrossing novel et 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 thatThe 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 thatUsing 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 acuired 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 Maryne Foley who loved to entertain her ounger children with ghost and other nightmarish stories sinking her voice to a horror stricken whisper His mother s alternative approach challenged her children to uestion everything to seek the truth wherever it may be hidden The rebel in this oung boy was firmly established His father an artist and alcoholic did not play a significant role in the Why Place Matters 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 whichou 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 personathe 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 knowledgeThe whole point of psychical research he explains is to eliminate and expose fraud and deceit To leave only what can be scientifically confirmed If ou eliminate. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2005Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth century Britain Arthur in shabby genteel Edinburgh George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village Arthur becomes a doctor and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age George remains in hardworking obscurity But as the new century begins they are brought together by a seuence of events which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley OutragesGeorge Edjali's father is Indian his mother Scottish When the family begins to receive vicious anonymous letters many about their son they put it down to racial prejudice They appeal to the police to no less than the Chief Constab.

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The impossible what is left however improbable must be the truth Spiritism is not asking ou to take a leap in the dark or cross a bridge Commentaries and Cases on the Law of Business Organization, 2009-2010 Statutory Supplement you have notet 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 Stygiophilia you look at what it actually says in the Bible ifou ignore the way in which the text has been altered and misinterpreted to suit the will of the established churches it s uite 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 ears hard labour after being convicted on a charge of mutilating a pony George1876 1953 was of mix race with his mom a Scottish woman Charlotte Edaljin e Stoneham and his fatherReverend Shapurji Edalji from IndiaThis 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 uite 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 novelHowever 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 ears 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 Misconduct (Birmingham Rebels, 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 embarrassed1907 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 115ears 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 Hollywood Education yet history proved him correct In many ways the world was not ready for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle1859 1930 However he was ready for the world and he took them on full throttleSoes with the mere instinctive tourism of infancy I ventured into the novel and came out delighted cleverly entertained and informed 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 committedArthur 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 gratisPart 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 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 materialThe 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. Le but to their dismay he appears to suspect George of being the letters' author Then someone starts slashing horses and livestock Again the police seem to suspect the shy aloof Birmingham solicitor He is arrested and on the flimsiest evidence sent to trial found guilty and sentenced to seven Steps Through the Mist years' hard labourArthur Conan Doyle famous as the creator of the world's greatest detective is mourning his first wife having been chastely in love for tenears with the woman who was to become his second when he hears about the Edjali case Incensed at this obvious miscarriage of justice he is galvanised into trying to clear George's nameWith a mixture of detailed research and vivid imagination Julian Barnes brings to life not just this long forgotten case but the inner lives of thes.

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 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 ear 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 nameThis 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 uite 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 bookIn 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 booksOther 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 JM 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 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 pseudohistoricalThis novel has a uniue concept that of following the life story of a famous celebrated writer but giving eual weight to another person whose life history has been entirely forgotten 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 systemWhile 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 uite 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 Revisited for the 2019 Mookse Madness tournamentA 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 storiesThis 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. E two very different men The reader sees them both with stunning clarity and almost inhabits them as they face the vicissitudes of their lives whether in the dock hearing a verdict of guilty or trying to live an honourable life while desperately in love with another woman This is a novel in which the events of a hundred ears ago constantly set off contemporary echoes a novel about low crime and high spirituality guilt and innocence identity nationality and race; about what we think what we believe and what we know Julian Barnes has long been recognised as one of Britain's most remarkable writers While those already familiar with his work will enjoy its elegance its wit its profound wisdom about the human condition Arthur George will surely find him an entirely new audience.

Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer of postmodernism in literature He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize Flaubert's Parrot 1984 England England 1998 and Arthur & George 2005 and won the prize for The Sense of an Ending 2011 He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan KavanaghFollowing an education at the City of London School and