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Flaubert's Parrot [Kindle Edition]

Julian Barnes
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011

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

Product Description


"Delightful and enriching... A book to revel in" (Joseph Heller)

"A gem: an unashamed literary novel that is also unashamed to be readable, and broadly entertaining. Bravo!" (John Irving)

"Endless food for thought, beautifully written... A tour de force" (Germaine Greer)

"Unputdownable... A mesmeric original" (Philip Larkin)

"A wry and graceful book... Unfailingly sharp and often very funny" (Sunday Times)

Book Description

'Julian Barnes' wry and graceful book, part novel, part stealthy literary criticism, traces the marks Flaubert made on a forgetting world. The writing is unfailingly sharp and often very funny, and among the best prose I have read in years' Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 384 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679731369
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (23 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0038AUYJ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,209 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of ten novels, including Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters and Arthur & George; two books of short stories, Cross Channel and The Lemon Table; and also three collections of journalism, Letters from London, Something to Declare, and The Pedant in the Kitchen.

His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert's Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). In 1993 he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Parrot of a Book 8 Jan. 2009
Without a doubt this is one of the best books I've ever read. It is stylish, engrossing, informative and, best of all, not too lengthy. I particularly like the way Barnes' oeuvre is such a multi-coloured parrot of a book itself: a diary, love story, collection of musings, essay on literary criticism, parody, and affectionate celebration of a great writer. This book has already been highly acclaimed and has achieved great success commercially, so the wonder is why Barnes, or others for that matter, have not written more like it. Perhaps it has to do with traditional British mistrust of 'cleverness', manifested as disdain for dandified romanticism and sophisticated wit. The Barnes bird is not so shy about spreading its wings or displaying such plumage, which is what makes Flaubert's Parrot such a pleasure to read. Perhaps Barnes himself is Flaubert's parrot - he has the Gallic sensibility, and seems knows more about Flaubert than I would consider healthy in an Englishman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great novel, or a great piece of lit crit? 11 Oct. 2007
Barne's 'Flaubert's Parrot' does not strike one immediately as a conventional piece of literature. It seems to be more a fascinating work of literary criticism, held together by the journey of Barnes' narrator, who delves deeply into the life and works of his idol Flaubert. There are even several chapters that support this idea, such as the various chronologies of Flaubert's life, and, especially, the mock examination questions near the end of the book.

Yet, despite this analytical emphasis on Flaubert's works, it is really the French writer's personality that is analysed and interpreted here. It is this suggestive, fictive element that I found most fascinating - the way that Barnes tries to work out the essence of this complicated, brilliant man through his own character. It is as if, despite all the facts that one can gain from his books and letters, the truth is that all efforts to work out a writer's life is just like creating a work of fiction.

And that is exactly what Barnes does in this novel. A clever, witty, really enjoyable read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe parrots cry, even stuffed ones 24 April 2006
This is an interesting book in the way it is structured especially with the play of so drastically varying the way the chapters were written.

Nonetheless, I am not sure that the frame of Mr.Braithwaite, the narrrator and doctor, around the biography of Flaubert, works. I had to keep going back to what his sad tale was which gets muddled between the suicide of his wife and the loner adulterous life of Flaubert. This became more like a prop rather than a person to enhance the analysis of Flaubert's life. On the other hand, the parrot dilemma brings the book full circle.

I was held though by how Barnes created a dialogue with this early 19th century author and felt frustrated that I was not more familiar with Flaubert's writing and modernist presence so ahead of his time.

As an aspiring writer, a second career, I noted many quote/phrases from Flaubert. Barnes must have done incredible research and the excitement was to be inside Flaubert's person through Barnes's interpretation. Perhaps this reader wanted to feel less intellectual and more in touch with the soul of Flaubert's life, to feel rather than read of 'his passions'. Perhaps Flaubert could not show his heart, though Barnes speaks of how crying came easily.

Maybe parrots cry, even stuffed ones.

Definitely a great read by an inventive author.
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By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This quirky biography of Flaubert wrapped up in an eccentric almost plot-free novel from the viewpoint of Geoffrey Braithwaite, an uptight retired English doctor obsessed with the French author is unusual, often amusing and, as some reviewers have commented, at times too clever by half.

If I had not read in French "Madame Bovary" and "Un Coeur Simple", I would have found it much harder to appreciate this book, which further restricts an appeal already limited by its status as a "literary novel".

I have learned a good deal about Flaubert, which I wish I had known when studying him for A Level decades ago, only no doubt his penchant for whores, young foreign boys and smutty jokes would have been considered unsuitable by my teacher. I can see that he was an original and truly independent thinker, probably still don't quite grasp the contribution he made to the modern novel, but do not find him very likeable as a person. He comes across as immature and opinionated at times, perhaps because his epilepsy isolated him, although he seemed to think he needed to be set apart, an observer looking on, to be able to write.

With his quicksilver intellect, Julian Barnes lets slip in passing a host of fascinating details and anecdotes. Flaubert wished he could afford to burn every copy of the very successful but deemed scandalous Madame Bovary. Did he mean it? Flaubert was bothered by his tendency to use metaphors. Was the famous parrot one of these and, if so, was it meant to be a symbol of the writer's voice, his obsession with "the Word"? Sartre, in what I find a surprisingly intense desire to attack Flaubert, rebuked him for, as Barnes cleverly puts it, being the "parrot/writer" who "feebly accepts language as something received, imitative and inert".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars worth a read.
Reading this book is a bit like jumping in puddles without wellies on, lots of fun and you forget why you're doing it.
Published 2 months ago by Melony Melons
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Extraordinary book, infuriating but brilliant
Published 2 months ago by mikehd
2.0 out of 5 stars This Parrot is deceased.
The structure of the book is confusing, I was unable to finish it.
Published 4 months ago by Anthony M. Godley
3.0 out of 5 stars Hannington Book Club
A very interesting read but I'm not sure why! Was I reading the right version? What's it about I wonder!
Published 5 months ago by Barry Cotton
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Tortuous, overly and self-consciously academic. Boring. Boring.
Published 8 months ago by J Slater
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't live up to my expectations!
I was expecting something different from Julian Barnes. I found this book a bit long winded and tedious not like all of his other books which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.
Published 8 months ago by Marisse
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Polly
I can understand why this book was short-listed for the Booker Prize, but I can also understand why it didn't win. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michael Farman
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, challenging read
I found the title intriguing and have read other books by the author. The writing is fluent and beautiful but sometimes confusing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by bedscolin
3.0 out of 5 stars FLAUBERT's PARROT
By reading Madam Bouvery would be a much better way to spend ones reading time. I decided to reread Julian Barnes novel after many years and was still disappointed.
Published 10 months ago by J.E.REYNOLDS
3.0 out of 5 stars Flaubert's quirky parrot
The book is a bit quirky, a bit like the curate's egg…. So I sort of enjoyed it. I read it because when I ordered Arthur & George Amazon reminded me that Barnes had written... Read more
Published 12 months ago by June Payne
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