Arthur and George
Arthur and George
Book for January 2007
Group 1
Set at the turn of the 20th century, the story follows the separate but intersecting lives of two very different Englishmen: a half-Indian solicitor and son of a Vicar George Edalji, and the world-famous author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Roughly one-third of the book traces the story of Edalji's trial, conviction, and imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. About one-third of the book traces the story of Doyle's life and his relationships with his first wife Louisa Hawkins and his platonic lover Jean Leckie. Roughly one-third of the book concerns Doyle's attempt to clear the name of Edalji and uncover the true culprit of the crime. Julian Barnes called it ' a contemporary novel set in the past' and the book does not aim to stick closely to the historical record at every point.

Arthur and George is laden with the unique and complex form of irony, simultaneously comic and tragic, that Barnes is known for. In this novel, however, Edalji's race, and the question as to how large a part it played in his wrongful conviction, represents a new theme for Barnes. Other themes, however, are more familiar Barnes territory: "Britishness" in its frustrating complacence, death and spirituality, and the challenges faced by the human heart. As always, Barnes is interested in how characters are shaped over time; Arthur & George is in many ways a continued exploration of the themes he explored in Metroland, Talking it Over, Love, Etc., and especially The Lemon Table.
About the Author
Julian Barnes
(born 19 January 1946 in Leicester, England) is a contemporary English writer, and winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, for his book The Sense of an Ending. Three of his earlier books had been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005).

Barnes has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh. Barnes is one of the best-loved English writers in France, where he has won several literary prizes, including the Prix Médicis for Flaubert’s Parrot and the Prix Femina for Talking It Over. He is an officer of L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.