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Arthur& George

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					Janet, a member of the three-dimensional book group I infrequently enjoy, loaned me her copy of Arthur & George by Julian Barnes. The group had discussed this Man Booker 2005 short listed novel and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not wishing to miss out on enjoyable experiences I asked to borrow it even though it was not a sci fi. Initially I was put off by the frequent scene switching between the two distant characters – Arthur (the early Conan Doyle) and George a solicitor in the Midlands. They had their own conflicts: Arthur struggled with passion, George with malicious blaming leading to false imprisonment. Eventually the two characters coalesce and Arthur tries his hand at solving an interesting mystery akin to his Sherlock Holmes, even though he protests that he is only a writer and not blessed with his creation’s detective prowess. Although I skip some tedious tell passages, I find myself falling into the languorous nature of the style with anticipation of the relaxing and excellent writing, and the slow action. As with all my reading I make notes of phrases I wished I’d written. One such comes when Arthur and his secretary cross a farmyard: “they squelched across the consequences of a herd of cows.” Marvellous – not the toilet humour but the choice of words. If I’d written that as a newbie author I’d have editors yelling at me to cut such pretentious writing and that by drawing the reader’s attention to the writing, the author is not invisible and so the fictive dream is broken. Bah – I love reading not just for the story but the way it’s reading. Well done, Julian!


				
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Geoff Nelder Geoff Nelder CEO http://geoffnelder.com
About A former teacher of Geography and Computer Science, I am now an editor for Adventure Books of Seattle, including its scifi magazine, Escape Velocity. I'm also a novelist.