J.W. Garton

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  • Arthur and George

    An engrossing and disturbing account of racism causing justice to go badly wrong, which manages to be witty and entertaining despite the grim realities of the story.

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    “Arthur and George” is a psychological study of a notorious criminal case in nineteenth century England, in which George Edalji, an Anglo-Indian lawyer, is wrongfully imprisoned. George is assisted by Arthur to obtain justice in the face of racial prejudice and police corruption. The identity of Arthur is only revealed well into the book, and he turns out to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes novels. The personalities of the two protagonists are finely etched, with irony and humour. George is a highly intelligent but eccentric and isolated man, a victim of racism. Arthur is rich and famous, with Sherlock Holmes one of the best known characters in English fiction. Julian Barnes gives both protagonists equal weight, not relying on Arthur Conan Doyle’s fame to drive the narrative. In fact, Arthur is given a warts-and-all portrait in the novel. Overall, “Arthur and George” is an engrossing and disturbing account of racism causing justice to go badly wrong. The nove...“Arthur and George” is a psychological study of a notorious criminal case in nineteenth century England, in which George Edalji, an Anglo-Indian lawyer, is wrongfully imprisoned. George is assisted by Arthur to obtain justice in the face of racial prejudice and police corruption. The identity of Arthur is only revealed well into the book, and he turns out to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes novels. The personalities of the two protagonists are finely etched, with irony and humour. George is a highly intelligent but eccentric and isolated man, a victim of racism. Arthur is rich and famous, with Sherlock Holmes one of the best known characters in English fiction. Julian Barnes gives both protagonists equal weight, not relying on Arthur Conan Doyle’s fame to drive the narrative. In fact, Arthur is given a warts-and-all portrait in the novel. Overall, “Arthur and George” is an engrossing and disturbing account of racism causing justice to go badly wrong. The novel also manages to be witty and entertaining, despite the grim realities of the story. It was televised in 2015 in the UK, with Arsher Ali and Martin Clunes in the main roles. (more)

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