NYS Writers Institute, February 1, 2006
The new novel is based on the little-known true story of George Edalji, a Birmingham solicitor of Indian parentage who, in 1903, was wrongly convicted by a racist court of maiming horses in Staffordshire. Edalji's plight attracted the interest of "Sherlock Holmes" mystery writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who championed Edalji's cause. Historians have often compared their relationship to that between crusading French journalist Emile Zola and wrongly-convicted Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus.
"Barnes's suave, elegant prose-alive here with precision, irony and humaneness-has never been used better than in this extraordinary true-life tale, which is as terrifically told as any by its hero Conan Doyle himself." - The London "Sunday Times"
[Conan Doyle would] "have been rather impressed with Julian Barnes, who has taken the bones of a long-dead history and imbued them with vivid and memorable life." - The London "Observer"
Other books by Barnes include "Metroland" (1980), winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize; the major international bestseller, "Flaubert's Parrot" (1985), winner of the Prix Médicis; "Talking it Over" (1991), winner of the Prix Femina; "England, England" (1999); "Love, etc." (2001); "In the Land of Pain" (2003); and "The Lemon Table: Stories" (2004).
"Flaubert's Parrot" is the strange, cerebral and thrilling story of an elderly English doctor's search to uncover certain secrets in the life of Gustave Flaubert, author of "Madame Bovary." Writing in the London "Observer," critic Philip Larkin called it "Unputdownable...a mesmeric original," and named it a Book of the Year. Writing in the "New York Times," Peter Brooks called it a "splendid hybrid of a novel, part biography, part fiction, part literary criticism, the whole carried off with great brio. 'Flaubert's Parrot' is high literary entertainment."
Barnes was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 1988.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.