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Conversation with Arthur Conan Doyle ('Conversation with') by [Simon Parke, Arthur Conan Doyle]
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Conversation with Arthur Conan Doyle ('Conversation with') Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 143 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

THE NEW YORKER August 30th 2010 SIMON PARKE SPEAKS WITH THE DEAD Book trailers-the low-budget previews modelled on those used by the film industry-have quickly grown tiresome. They're never very interesting, often overly impressionistic and pretentious, and rarely rise above the level of those silly historical reA"nactments you see on cable. They might get better over time, or die out; either is preferable to their current state. An exception, though, are the finely wrought previews for Simon Parke's Conversations with - A" biographies, published by White Crow Books. In this series, Parke bypasses the more quotidian aspects of historical biography by conducting interviewsA" with his subjects-Jesus, Meister Eckhart, Arthur Conan Doyle, Vincent van Gogh, and Leo Tolstoy-with the answers coming from their published writings. The trailers are stagey-with Parke and the actor playing his subject shown in the recording studio while a musical score soars behind their voices-yet the interviews nonetheless feel natural. Much of this feeling owes to the straightforward and unadorned nature of the exchanges, as when Parke asks Vincent van Gogh why he drinks, and the master answers, If the storm gets too loud, I take a glass too much to stun myself.A" The shot cuts to At Eternity's Gate,A" van Gogh's portrait of a man with his head in his hands, but you can imagine the whorls and swirls of the artist's favored darkened skies as well. Here, Parke conducts his interview with Tolstoy in the assured and chatty style of a British talk-show host: http://whitecrowbooks.com/conversations/page/conversations_with_leo_tolstoy This gambit may be viewed as simply a clever gimmick, but there is something compelling about Parke's style, which in a way that is always promised but rarely delivered, does, in fact, bring his subjects to life. Parke's role as the good-natured interlocutor seems to be an essential component of the project, a disposition on display in this cheeky description of his imagined time spent with Tolstoy: He also proved an appalling husband, hated Shakespeare, never came to terms with his sexual appetite and yet had a profound influence on the non-violence of the young Gandhi. My time at Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy's country estate, was never dull; and sometimes, surprisingly comic. Soon after I left the great man, at the age of 82, he ran away from home. by Ian Crouch Loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department.

About the Author

Simon Parke was a priest in the Church of England for twenty years, before leaving for fresh adventures. He worked for three years in a supermarket, stacking shelves and working on the till. He was also chair of the shop union. He has since left to go free lance, and now writes, leads retreats and offers consultancy. He has written for The Independent and The Evening Standard, and is currently columnist with the Daily Mail. His weekly supermarket diary, 'Shelf Life', ran for 15 months in the Mail on Saturday, and he now contributes another weekly column called 'One-Minute Mystic.' The book version of 'Shelf Life' has recently been published by Rider. The book version of 'One-Minute Mystic' is published by Hay House in Jan.2010. Other books by Simon include 'Forsaking the Family' - a refreshingly real look at family life. Our families made us; yet we understand very little of how our experiences as children still affects us. The book starts by contemplating Jesus' ambivalence towards his own family, particularly his parents; reflects on how our family settings can both help and harm us; and suggests paths for freedom and authenticity. 'The Beautiful Life - ten new commandments because life could be better' was published by Bloomsbury, and describes ten skilful attitudes for life. Simon leads retreats around this book, and talks about it on this site. It is now also available in audio form with White Crow books. Simon has been a teacher of the Enneagram for twenty years. The enneagram is an ancient and remarkable path of self-understanding, and Simon's book on the subject, published by Lion, is called 'Enneagram - a private session with the world's greatest psychologist.' 'Another bloody retreat' is Simon's desert novel, describing events at the monastery of St James-the-Less set in the sands of Middle Egypt. It follows the fortunes of Abbot Peter and the rest of the community, when the stillness of their sacred setting is rudely and irrevocably shattered. Simon was born in Sussex, but has lived and worked in London for twenty five years. He has written comedy and satire for TV and radio, picking up a Sony radio award. He has two grown up children and his hobbies include football, history and running. For more information,

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 348 KB
  • Print Length: 143 pages
  • Publisher: White Crow Books (25 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003A83EHA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,089,241 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Full of unexpected facts
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Format: Paperback
Of all the books by Simon Parke in this series (there are three others at the time of writing this review), this 'conversation' is the most unusual. Simply because the subject turns out to be such a fascinating, excentric and unpredictable man.

I was intrigued by Arthur Conan Doyle, not knowing much beyond his literary claim to fame. Now I do know.

The book is a joy to read for its wealth of information about such a variety of things: his friendship with Houdini, views on Suffragettes fairies (yes, fairies!), and most wacky of all - belief in Spiritualism.

But never mind the ultimate questions of the human existence, and the even more ultimate lack of unswers; I was just as delighted to discover that Conan Doyle went to the Arctic on a whaling boat Hope as a ship's surgeon. Here's a glimpse of that experience, in his own words:

"The perpetual light, the glare of the white ice, the deep blue of the water, these are things which one remembers most clearly; and the dry, crisp, exhilarating air, which makes mere life the keenest of pleasures."

For all his interest in the afterlife, this was a man intensly in love with life on earth, and this litle book succeeds in showing him in all his multifaceted complexity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, wacky man! 15 April 2010
By Ms. M. Foley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Of all the books by Simon Parke in this great series (there are three others at the time of writing this review), this 'conversation' is the most unusual. Simply because its subject turns out to be such a fascinating, excentric and unpredictable person.

I was intrigued by Conan Doyle, not knowing much beyond his literary claim to fame. Now I do. The book is a joy to read for its wealth of information about so many different things: his friendship with Houdini, views on Suffraguettes, fairies (yes, fairies!), and most wacky of all - belief in Spiritualism.

But never mind the ultimate questions about human existence, and the even more ultimate lack of unswers; I was just as delighted to discover that Conan Doyle went to the Arctic on a whaling boat 'Hope' as a ship's surgeon. Here is a glimpse of that experience in his own words:

"The perpetual light , the glare of the white ice, the deep blue of the water, these are things which one remembers most clearly; and the dry, crisp, exhilarating air, which makes mere life the keenest of pleasures."

For all his interest in the sfterlife, this was a man intensly in love with life on earth, and this book shows him in all his multifaceted complexity.
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth investigating 18 Mar. 2010
By Joe Jacobs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'd been reading Sherlock Holmes for years before I discovered that Conan Doyle wrote on many other subjects, some controversial. I thought I'd check out what all of the fuss was about and stumbled upon this book online. In this book the writer imagines what Conan Doyle's response would be to a number of well thought- out questions and the result is that the imaginary Conan Doyle comes to life and explains in simple language his philosophy and thoughts on a myriad of topics. The book is very interesting and worth investigating, if you'll pardon the pun!
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