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Arthur & George

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  10,319 ratings  ·  1,066 reviews
Now a major TV series starring Martin Clunes, Arsher Ali and Art Malik

From the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011, an extraordinary true-life tale about a long-forgotten mystery...

Arthur and George grow up worlds apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur is to b
Paperback, 505 pages
Published September 7th 2006 by Vintage (first published July 7th 2005)
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Martha Arthur and George is the only one of Barnes's novels I've really enjoyed. It's more complex than the TV series and definitely worth the read. His…moreArthur and George is the only one of Barnes's novels I've really enjoyed. It's more complex than the TV series and definitely worth the read. His style and insights are good. My favorite Barnes is Nothing to Be Frightened Of which is nonfiction--a memoir/rumination about death that I've read three times and find compelling and comforting. One of my Goodreads 5-stars.(less)
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Best neo-victorian novels
32nd out of 75 books — 140 voters
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Best True Crime
358th out of 542 books — 860 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 more 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 poin
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

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 more 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 the
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 more 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 p ...more
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 more. The acclaimed character was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who turned out to be even more 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 ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Hayes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hayes by: giftie from Bettie
Shelves: read-in-2011
Beautifully written, the language kept me reading eagerly all the way through; however, this story is based on a true event in Arthur Conan Doyle's life and the ending, just like real-life endings, fizzled out. I wasn't really expecting a wrapped-up case like in a mystery novel, but I was left unsatisfied, wanting to know more.

Which might not be a bad thing. I have Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters which I will read a little sooner than I had anticipated to try to to remedy this.

Barnes does
update 31st of August 2015: description

Arthur & George Series - Premieres Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015 at 8/7c

Not a typical Barnes, but a book in which the reader is maintained alert at all times. The author chose a famous English personality (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) to be one of the main characters. He, investigated in a manner which can only be attributed to the witty Sherlock Holmes, a series of anonymous menacing letters followed by a great number of attacks on the cattle of a village very close to Birmin
Old review from 2006

Way outside of my normal range of reading here, but hey, that's what the Christmas book stack is all about. Apparently it's a pseudohistorical novel about Arthur Conan Doyle, George Edalji, and the 'Great Wyrly Outrage' animal mutilation hearings. In turn-of-the-century Britain, they lacked the foresight to blame such things on aliens from outer space, so they instead turned their suspicions upon the home-grown variety.

I have this problem with most non-genre fiction. If a boo
I don't go for whodunnits so much, mostly because I have such a poor head for plot that by the time the mystery is revealed, I've long forgotten who these people are that are now being identified as the criminals. This piece of historical fiction is no different in that regard, but the mystery of who committed the crime is only a small part of what Barnes is trying to do.

The other topics that the book tackles--changing definitions of masculinity and honor in early 20th century England, the strug
This was a very good, singular book. Now, I've seen many reviews that were disappointed with the ending. I believe that it was a decent one, given the circumstances and the persisting mystery of it all. The author's note helped clear things up, so one would be advised to read that if the conclusion was unsatisfying. As for the whole of the work. It was a fantastic cross section of English life at the time, detailing the lives of two very different men with very different views of the world,
I couldn't decide whether this book fell under the "loved it" or "it was amazing" category. I finally settled on "loved it" but only because I want to try (try) to keep my "it was amazing" books to an exclusive few. However, I must say that I was amazed by the book. Barnes writing was smooth and effortless to read. At the same time it was penetrating, and he could articulate feelings and contradictions with clarity.
The story was wonderful. It is about Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock
Terence Hawkins
I like Julian Barnes; I like Arthur Conan Doyle; I like historicals. I therefore expected to like Julian Barnes' historical about Arthur Conan Doyle. Unfortunately I was disappointed.

The book concerns Doyle's years-long effort to exonerate an Indian solicitor----George--- accused of cattle mutilations in rural England. Bizarre enough, right? It's told in the form of intertwining third-person biographies of the title characters. Surprisingly, neither is terribly interesting. Doyle's little known
This is one of those times I want to give 4.5 stars. This is a complex, multi leveled, engaging book of historical fiction. We follow Arthur from childhood through death (that's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and George, an East Indian-English Vicar's son who is raised to be a sound person of character and a solicitor.
Being a huge fan of Sir Doyle, I was surprised and delighted when I discovered who the young Arthur was. I try not to read the flyleaf summaries or long winded reviews until after I've r
Amy Sturgis
I knew going into this novel by Julian Barnes that it focused on the Scottish doctor-turned-author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Indian solicitor George Edalji. Their very different lives intersected when Conan Doyle drew outraged attention to the wrongful conviction of Edalji for the series of horse and livestock mutilations known as the "Great Wyrley Outrages" of 1903. Edalji's case and Conan Doyle's championing of his cause helped lead to the creation of England's Court of Criminal App ...more
This book reads more as a biography in which the principal characters, Arthur and George, are brought to life to paint a pivotal event in which their lives intersected.

The novel swings between long chapters on either Arthur or George, with some minor characters intervening to provide relief. Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the renowned creator of Sherlock Holmes, and George is George Edalji, the lawyer son of a Parsee vicar and a Scottish mother. Their stories converge late into the book when
ARTHUR & GEORGE. (2011). Julian Barnes. *****.
This is a marvelously written novel about two very different men, Arthur and George (duh). Arthur turns out to be Arthur Conan Doyle, and George is George Edalji. Do not be put off by the beginning of this novel, where the author fleshes out his two men using the see-saw technique that seems so popular these days. Once through this, the story can really begin. Basically, it is the tale of the righting of an injustice towards a man, George, wrong
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
Jun 10, 2007 Maureeen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of sherlock holmes, historical novels, british humour, criminal justice, philosophy
The novel reflects the reserve of the English people. Insights are profound, and there is serious philosophical reflection, but it is all understated. For this reason, this novel is excellent for both people looking for an entertaining read, and people who expect an intellectual stimulation. Irony and astute observation make for a novel that is often incredibly funny. Barnes renders the cahracters in an endearing manner, I as a reader found myself immensely concerned with their outcomes. This wi ...more
I found this book to be very interesting indeed. It was historical fiction but felt more like a good and proper non-fiction account of these mens' experiences; a snapshot kind of biography. I was surprised to find that someone like Julian Barnes wrote something so precise because I thought he was more into comedy but hey, look, another Rennaisance man. This book is a wonderfully well written account of a true landmark case that happened in England to a misunderstood and very innocent Indian Engl ...more
This book drew me in immediately. Barnes tells the story of Arthur (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and George (George Edalji), two people whose lives intersect in a powerful way in the second half of the book. As with others of his books, Barnes packs a lot into a small package. In this case he brings to life the moral and ethical milieu/dilemmas of the Victorian era through Arthur and George's story. The story gradually unfolds, being told through alternating chapters focusing on one of the main chara ...more
Aug 03, 2012 Ana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of non-fictional fiction (if I may say that)
This was one good book and it has officially made me a fan of mr Julian Barnes. I had read "Cafe au lait" before this, and it didn't impress me that much, but "Arthur & George" is a completely different story.

For a start, it's clear that an impressive amount of work has been put in order to write this book. It's not so much fiction as it is non-fiction and I think Barnes did a wonderful job in making the reader (moi, moi, moi) think that this is story, a telling, more than it is a truth! Th
Took me awhile to catch on. Enjoyed it about 3/4 of the way through, but the author does tend to go on and on and on.
Mar 05, 2008 Vikki rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Corey because she deserves it. ;-)
Shelves: 2008-books-read
Not the worst book I've ever read, but I had high expectations going into it and unfortunately I was let down. I think this is because I found the book to be very slow going and filled with many unnecessary details. Although a fictional telling based on real events, I think that some of the information could have been condensed.
Este livro é absolutamente assombroso.

Escrito de uma forma excelente, somos lentamente absorvidos para todo este ambiente da mais terrível xenofobia aliás, todo este livro é de uma suavidade aterradora.

Como é que numa vila tão pacífica do interior de Inglaterra se podem esconder pessoas com faces normais mas sentimentos tão negros?
Enquanto lia várias vezes me vinha à cabeça uma cena de um episódio da série do Sherlock Holmes (que eu devorava na adolescência e continuo ainda hoje a revê-la) em qu
I enjoyed this book. It was given to me some time ago and had been sitting on the TBR shelf. Then fairly recently I read an article in The Guardian which discussed it because of a recent discovery that one of the forged letters was in fact a fabrication of the chief constable of the Staffordshire police, who was trying to discredit Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his attempts to clear the name of the wrongly convicted George Edalji. You may be able to access it here: ...more
This is a terrific book and for my money, better than the one for which Barnes won the Booker. It begins as a two-person character study/fictionalized biography. One of them is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, no introductions needed. The other is George Edalji, an Englishman of partly Indian origin (which I figured out only about 100 pages into the novel, a deliberate choice by Barnes I think), a guy Wikipedia has a lot to say about but who was unknown to me before I started reading this book.

We follow
‘A beautiful and engrossing work’ The Independent on Sunday claims on the cover of my book, and I would absolutely have to agree. Arthur & George was the kind of book I felt immersed in, its scope being impressive, its authenticity alluring and its style – in Barnes’s capable hands – a pleasure to spend hour after hour with.

The title hints at a relationship between these two characters, but one which doesn’t get under way until about a third of the way into the book, maybe more. I had purpos
From a technical perspective, ARTHUR & GEORGE is a brilliant accomplishment. But it's also a bit of a slog. Fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle should especially get a kick out of it, as the book is heavily based on actual events and conveys myriad factual details pertaining to Doyle's life. (In fact, the most obvious criticism people will have about ARTHUR & GEORGE is that it is TOO detailed.) Author Julian Barnes does a seamless job of blending fact and fiction, and there isn't a single mom ...more
Book Concierge
This novel is based on a true case in England that did, in fact, involve the two parties of the title – George Edalji, who was erroneously charged and convicted of a heinous crime, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought his fame, resources, deductive reasoning and tenacity to correcting a gross injustice.

Their stories are told in alternating chapters, giving the reader a clear background on each character – their similarities and differences. Edalji was the English-born son of a Parsee and his
I enjoyed reading this book, until I started it I did not know that one of the two main characters was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Indeed, more than half of the book is about the life that sir Arthur and George Edalji –a lawyer, son of the vicar of a town near Birmingham of Parsee origins –before 'fate' made them meet. The other half of the book is about Conan Doyle's investigation on George's case. It is curious how, even if they only met three times in their lives, they had a profound impact
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The Description could use a spoiler alert. 6 95 Sep 16, 2012 08:19AM  
  • Every Man for Himself
  • Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters
  • Casanova in Love
  • Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
  • A Long Long Way
  • Headlong
  • Author, Author
  • Morality Play
  • English Passengers
  • This Thing of Darkness
  • The Underground Man
  • The Keepers of Truth
  • Restoration
  • The American Boy
  • I'll Go to Bed at Noon
  • The Master
  • Europa
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 Kavanagh.

Following an education at the City of London School
More about Julian Barnes...

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“If a man cannot tell what he wants to do, then he must find out what he ought to do. If desire has become complicated, then hold fast to duty.” 23 likes
“And that was all the part of it - the way you were obliged to live. You stifled a groan, you lied about your love, you deceived your legal wife, and all in the name of honour. That was the damned paradox of it - in order to behave well, you have to behave badly.” 16 likes
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