Monday, January 3, 2011

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

Arthur & George, the tenth novel by Julian Barnes is a historical fiction that chronicles the lives of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji. The former was, of course, the one and only creator of the greatest literary detective in the world, and the latter being the subject of a legal case in the early twentieth century. The book is beautifully and meticulously written with exacting, remarkable detail and two distinct tones for the different characters. The pace can feel plodding at points, but never to an extreme degree. Added enjoyment can be had for those who are familiar with the case and the people portrayed in the storyline. The characters are written in a way that it feels more like a living autobiography than the musings of an author what with the apparent realism infused into the work. In all honesty, a fictional chronicling of a legal case from the 1900s won’t appeal to everyone despite the names involved, one in particular. However, it’s engaging, smartly written, and surprisingly difficult to put down once a few chapters in. 4 stars ****

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