Flaubert's Parrot

( 9 )

Overview

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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Flaubert's Parrot

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Peter Brooks
Mr. Barnes hasn't written this novel directly or simply. Rather, he has appropriately given us the story of an obsession with Flaubert. The result is a splendid hybrid of a novel, part biography, part fiction, part literary criticism, the whole carried off with great bio. Flaubert's Parrot' is high literary entertainment. -- New York Times
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
"Witty and dazzeling!" -- The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Barnes's contemporary classic follows loosely in the footsteps of acclaimed 19th-century French novelist Gustave Flaubert, serving as capsule biography, work of critical art, record of cross-generational authorial jealousy, and a portrait of obsession. As the protagonist meditates on Madame Bovary, while giving us quick glimpses into the source of his own fixation on the novel—like Emma, his own wife was unfaithful and committed suicide—Richard Morant keeps pace, following Barnes as he dips and dives through a dizzying variety of styles. A Vintage paperback. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679731368
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1990
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage international ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 362,411
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Julian Barnes

JULIAN BARNES is the author of nine novels including A History of the World in 10½ Chapters; England and Arthur and George.

Biography

Julian Barnes once told London's Observer that he writes fiction "to tell beautiful, exact, and well-constructed lies which enclose hard and shimmering truths." Indeed, this is what Barnes does, sometimes spiking his lies with fact -- most notably in Flaubert's Parrot, the novel that became his breakthrough book. The story of a retired doctor obsessed with the French author, it combines a literary detective story with a character study of its detective, including facts about Flaubert along the way.

Before Flaubert's Parrot propelled him into the company of Ian McEwan and Martin Amis in British authordom, Barnes had been moderately successful with the novels Metroland (which later became the 1997 movie starring Emily Watson and Christian Bale) and Before She Met Me. He was also known to Brits as a newspaper TV critic. Parrot and Barnes's subsequent "Letters from London" in The New Yorker helped expand the author's Stateside following.

"A lot of novelists set up a kind of franchise, and turn out a familiar product," friend and fellow author Jay McInerney told the Guardian in 2000. "But what I like about Jules's work is that he's like an entrepreneur who starts up a new company every time out." Among other ambitious themes, Barnes has explored the collapse of communism (The Porcupine) the Disneyfication of culture (England, England), the simple dynamics of relationships (Talking It Over and its sequel, Love, Etc.), and the connections between art, religion, and death (The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters).

Barnes has also produced collections of essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet's In the Land of Pain, and a family memoir (Nothing to Be Frightened Of) that also serves as a meditation on mortality.

Good To Know

In 2000, a cybersquatting professor acquired the Internet rights to julianbarnes.com and several other authors' domain names; Barnes later won his name back, and the domain is now an informational site run by a fan with Barnes's permission. Barnes had protested the professor's actions, accusing him of usurpation; but his opponent might have responded by quoting from Barnes's own (albeit satirical) England, England: "Indeed, wasn't there something old-fashioned about the whole concept of ownership, or rather its acquisition by formal contract, in which title is received in exchange for consideration given?.... It would have been unfair to call Sir Jack Pitman a barbarian, though some did; but there stirred within him a longing to revisit pre-classical, pre-bureaucratic methods of acquiring ownership. Methods such as theft, conquest and pillage, for example."

Barnes wrote four mystery novels under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh, all of which are now out of print; the novels starred Duffy, a bisexual ex–police officer. Kavanagh's bio read in part: "Having devoted his adolescence to truancy, venery and petty theft, he left home at seventeen and signed on as a deckhand on a Liberian tanker." Kavanagh also happens to be the last name of Barnes's agent and wife, Pat.

Barnes was a deputy literary editor under Martin Amis at the New Statesman from 1980–82 and was also a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. Amis and Barnes later had a falling-out that became fodder for the press when Amis wrote about it in his memoir, Experience; Barnes is mum on the subject, but the disagreement arose when Amis defected from Barnes's wife to another agent.

Barnes has a cameo in the film Bridget Jones's Diary as himself, but in a lesser role than he has in Helen Fielding's book. In the book, Bridget is flummoxed upon encountering Barnes and embarrasses herself; but the more recognizable Salman Rushdie was substituted for Barnes in the film version.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Dan Kavanagh
    2. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 19, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Leicester, England
    1. Education:
      Degree in modern languages from Magdalen College, Oxford, 1968

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2001

    A Surprise.

    I am glad to discover this Gem of a book. This is the first title that i had read by Barnes.I'm surprised at what a great writer he is.Though, i cannot say i knew what to expect, it's a great book. I knew next to nothing about Flaubert But the book has made me want to find more out about him, probably read his classic. I enjoy an experimental book and especially one that is well written. it makes me want to go to Egypt, France and Especially England, i believe i will read other titles by Barnes.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Please rp Brownkit

    Please rp Brownkit. She is a brave kit with clever ideas. Her littermates are Whiskerkit, Mudkit, and Icekit. Her parents are Rockfeather and Beamwhisker. She is dark brown with dark blue eyes. If you want to rp her, go to tree bark result one and asked t rp her.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Goldflower

    Emberkir: a smokey grey she-kit with darker front paws and green eyes. She is fun, cheerfull, and is all ways in a good mood. If u want to rp her go to Thunder cloud and ask for me, Goldflower.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    To cat who came here to have me rp

    Please put the description of the kit, the personality, any abilitys(you dont have to put powers you could just say something like she can jump high for her age), info on who her parents are and her siblings, and plz tell me where to go to rp the kit. Sorry theres a lot to type. I just want to be this kit perfectly. Reply soon!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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