Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Novel: Arthur and George

Arthur and George by Julian BarnesShortlisted for Booker Prize, 'Arthur and George' is another beautiful novel from the author of Flaubert's Parrot and the Lemon Table, Julian Barnes. Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician, sportsman, gentleman and the creator of Sherlock Holmes; George is George Edalji also a real but less well known person. Arthur and George is the story of these two men whose lives intersect each other at one point. It is the novelized account of true incident in which Arthur Conan Doyle, battled to overturn the conviction of George Edalji, an English attorney of Indian origin who had been falsely accused of killing farm animals and writing threatening anonymous letters to his own family.

Contemporary writer Julian Barnes presents a story which has lots of research and very vivid imiagination behind it. The book begins from the childhood of both characters living far away from each other and very different environments. The fate brings them closer and begins a story of justice, law, crime, racial prejudice and spirituality.

Christian Science Monitor's book editor Marjorie Kehe writes about this novel:

On the contrary, if anything, Barnes gently mocks the Holmesian belief that life is a problem to be solved by logic and close observation. Instead, the story suggests, human justice can never be more than approximate because "truth" - always filtered through one individual consciousness or another - is so fluid a commodity.

What is real? When is goodness genuine? Can either innocence or love ever be absolute? And what is the nature of Doyle's attachment to spiritualism: a cruel hoax or something more enlightened? Such questions weave throughout the narrative.
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