Arthur & George
Title: Arthur & George
Author: Julian Barnes
Chronicles the lives of two boys — one who is forgotten by history, and one who becomes the creator of the world’s most famous detective — as they pursue their separate destinies until they meet in a remarkable alliance.
From one of England’s most esteemed novelists, an utter astonishment that captures an era through one life celebrated internationally and another entirely forgotten.
In the vast expanse of late-Victorian Britain, two boys come to life: George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, in shabby genteel Edinburgh, both of them feeling at once near to and impossibly distant from the beating heart of Empire. One falls prey to a series of pranks en route to a legal vocation, while the other studies medicine before discovering a different calling entirely, and it is years before their destinies are entwined in a mesmerizing alliance. We follow each through outrageous accusation and unrivaled success, through faith and perseverance and dogged self-recrimination, whether in the dock awaiting complete disgrace or at the height of fame while desperately in love with a woman not his wife, and gradually realize that George is half-Indian and that Arthur becomes the creator of the world’s most famous detective. Ranging from London clubs to teeming prisons, from a lost century to the modern age, this novel is a panoramic revelation of things we thought we knew or else had no clue of, as well as a gripping exploration of what goals drive us toward whatever lies in wait — an experience resounding with issues, no less relevant today, of crime and spirituality; of identity and nationality; of what we think, what we believe and what we can prove.
Intriguing, relentless and, most of all, moving, Arthur & George richly extends the reach and achievement of a novelist described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a dazzling mind in mercurial flight.”