Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
First Published in: 1984
Reviewed by: Book Worm and Jen
Synopsis (from book jacket): Which of two stuffed parrots was the inspiration for one of Flaubert’s greatest stories? Why did the master keep changing the color of Emma Bovary’s eyes? And why should these minutiae matter so much to Geoffrey Braithwaite, the crankily erudite doctor who is the narrator of this tour de force style and imagination?
In Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes, who has been compared with writers such as Joyce and Calvino, spins out a mystery, an exuberant metafictional inquiry into the ways in which art mirrors life and then turns around to shape it; a look at the perverse autopsies that readers perform on books an lovers perform on their beloved; and a piercing glimpse at the nature of obsession and betrayal both scholarly and romantic.
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
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.