Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Arthur And George: Julian Barnes

A true story and a very good one. Barnes has novelized it to the extent of inventing conversations, thoughts and feelings but I don't think there's a person in it who didn't actually exist.

In certain respects truth does turn out to be stranger than fiction. No novelist could have created a character as heterogeneous as Arthur Conan Doyle. People in fiction have to be consistent to be believable, they need to hang together and be typical- to an extent- of their age and class and gender. But Doyle is all over the place; Irish by ancestry, Scots by birth,  English by choice, a doctor, a novelist, a sportsman, a campaigner for justice, a spiritualist- a man of large appetites and emotions but rigorously chivalric in his dealings with women: really, you couldn't make him up. 
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