Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

Vintage Books

Mark Haddon

"Richly accomplished...Dazzling"

Sunday Times



'Arthur and George' is not a book I would have probably picked up myself, but it was lent to me by a friend at work.  So after it spent near to a year sat in my bottom drawer I finally picked it out and gave it a go.  I have to say it was a delightful read.  The style of the books is such that, especially during the early years of Arthur and George's respective lives, the story quickly dashes between them both, never lingering with one of them for more than a few pages.  It allowed me to quickly get a good knowledge of the characters and slowly become absorbed in the subtle story line.

That being said, the first time that Barnes moved to a longer chapter following one of the characters, it was a bit of a shock and the book suddenly became a bigger struggle to read.  I can't put my finger on exactly what it was that made my concentration wane so quickly, but it continued throughout much of the book and I can confess to juggling two different books during train journeys for a couple of weeks.

Despite this, I was still gripped by the plot and there were times when I became properly drawn in to the story.  The characters were quirky but yet believable.  I also enjoyed the fact that Arthur was none other than Arthur Conan Doyle which meant copious references to Sherlock Holmes during the later chapters of the book.  I was also surprised to discover that a vast majority of the novel was actually factual with only some of the minor relationship details being fiction.

I would be lying if I claimed this was one of my favourite novels, or that I would be inclined to read it again.  It was, however, a light and enjoyable read.  You are also left feeling a slight sense of justice, but also with a slight bitter after-taste of the reality of the old British judicial system!



Reviewed on 03/03/2008 by Angela


Reviewed item details

ISBN: 0099492733

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