Julian Barnes Flaubert's Parrot

ISBN 13: 9780099540083

Flaubert's Parrot

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9780099540083: Flaubert's Parrot

A classic work by a great British author, published for the first time by Vintage.
Geoffrey Braithwaite is a retired doctor haunted by an obsession with the great French literary genius, Gustave Flaubert. As Geoffrey investigates the mystery of the stuffed parrot Flaubert borrowed from the Museum of Rouen to help research one of his novels, we learn an enormous amount about the writer's work, family, lovers, thought processes, health and obsessions. But we also gradually come to learn some important and shocking details about Geoffrey and his own life.

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Review:

Just what sort of book is Flaubert's Parrot, anyway? A literary biography of 19th-century French novelist, radical, and intellectual impresario Gustave Flaubert? A meditation on the uses and misuses of language? A novel of obsession, denial, irritation, and underhanded connivery? A thriller complete with disguises, sleuthing, mysterious meetings, and unknowing targets? An extended essay on the nature of fiction itself?

On the surface, at first, Julian Barnes's book is the tale of an elderly English doctor's search for some intriguing details of Flaubert's life. Geoffrey Braithwaite seems to be involved in an attempt to establish whether a particularly fine, lovely, and ancient stuffed parrot is in fact one originally "borrowed by G. Flaubert from the Museum of Rouen and placed on his worktable during the writing of Un coeur simple, where it is called Loulou, the parrot of Felicité, the principal character of the tale."

What begins as a droll and intriguing excursion into the minutiae of Flaubert's life and intellect, along with an attempt to solve the small puzzle of the parrot--or rather parrots, for there are two competing for the title of Gustave's avian confrere--soon devolves into something obscure and worrisome, the exploration of an arcane Braithwaite obsession that is perhaps even pathological. The first hint we have that all is not as it seems comes almost halfway into the book, when after a humorously cantankerous account of the inadequacies of literary critics, Braithwaite closes a chapter by saying, "Now do you understand why I hate critics? I could try and describe to you the expression in my eyes at this moment; but they are far too discoloured with rage." And from that point, things just get more and more curious, until they end in the most unexpected bang.

One passage perhaps best describes the overall effect of this extraordinary story: "You can define a net in one of two ways, depending on your point of view. Normally, you would say that it is a meshed instrument designed to catch fish. But you could, with no great injury to logic, reverse the image and define the net as a jocular lexicographer once did: he called it a collection of holes tied together with string." Julian Barnes demonstrates that it is possible to catch quite an interesting fish no matter how you define the net. --Andrew Himes

From the Inside Flap:

A kind of detective story, relating a cranky amateur scholar's search for the truth about Gustave Flaubert, and the obsession of this detective whose life seems to oddly mirror those of Flaubert's characters.

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Julian Barnes
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2010)
ISBN 10: 0099540088 ISBN 13: 9780099540083
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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Flaubert s Parrot deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and with its enigmatic narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed. A compelling weave of fiction and imaginatively ordered fact, Flaubert s Parrot is by turns moving and entertaining, witty and scholarly, and a tour de force of seductive originality. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099540083

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Flaubert s Parrot deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and with its enigmatic narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed. A compelling weave of fiction and imaginatively ordered fact, Flaubert s Parrot is by turns moving and entertaining, witty and scholarly, and a tour de force of seductive originality. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099540083

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. Deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and, with its narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed. Num Pages: 192 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 13. Weight in Grams: 186. . 2009. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099540083

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Book Description Vintage, 2009. Book Condition: New. Deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and, with its narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed. Num Pages: 192 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 13. Weight in Grams: 186. . 2009. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099540083

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Flaubert's Parrot, Julian Barnes, Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Flaubert's Parrot deals with Flaubert, parrots, bears and railways; with our sense of the past and our sense of abroad; with France and England, life and art, sex and death, George Sand and Louise Colet, aesthetics and redcurrant jam; and with its enigmatic narrator, a retired English doctor, whose life and secrets are slowly revealed. A compelling weave of fiction and imaginatively ordered fact, Flaubert's Parrot is by turns moving and entertaining, witty and scholarly, and a tour de force of seductive originality. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099540083

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