Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

This is a really good book. That might sound like an underwhelming review, but it really simply is a great piece of literature through and through. Barnes’ novel is spellbinding. I know that because it has impacted my everyday life. I can’t sleep because I want to read it, I missed my stop on the train because the chapter wasn’t through, and it was a great test of will to come back to the office from lunch when who knows what could happen to George next?

There are two plots which seem wholly unattached until they are. Arthur and George are compelling protagonists in their own right, and each time one’s chapter was up I felt a mix of sadness because they were gone and joy because the other one has come back.

I bought this book on a whim because it is part of the Vintage Anchor Emblem Canada series—the bold coloured set of Canadian classics released by Indigo. Arthur & George is a beautiful teal. Yes, I arbitrarily chose a book based on the colour of the cover. So sue me. It also sounded like one of those books that are just about “guys being friends.” Something else I’m also a huge fan of.

I admit I have no quotes because I was too caught up reading. What else can I say? Despite being part of the Canadian classics series the novel takes place in England and its colonies, so there may be some terms lost on the North American audience. None of it really detracts from the story, but my lack of knowledge of English currency really makes it difficult to tell whether it’s talking about a lot or a little money. Whatever, it’s of little import and you can always use a currency converter.

Go read it. Go buy it. Go and cherish it for the rest of your life, because, my God, is Barnes a fantastic author. He’s made it on to my favourite books list. Well done, sir. Well done.