The Man in the Red Coat
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The Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending takes us on a rich, witty tour of Belle Epoque Paris, via the life story of the pioneering surgeon Samuel Pozzi.
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BOOKS AWARDS 2020**
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE DUFF COOPER PRIZE 2019**
In the summer of 1885, three Frenchmen arrived in London for a few days’ shopping. One was a Prince, one was a Count, and the third was a commoner with an Italian name, who four years earlier had been the subject of one of John Singer Sargent’s greatest portraits. The commoner was Samuel Pozzi, society doctor, pioneer gynaecologist and free-thinker – a rational and scientific man with a famously complicated private life.
Pozzi’s life played out against the backdrop of the Parisian Belle Epoque. The beautiful age of glamour and pleasure more often showed its ugly side: hysterical, narcissistic, decadent and violent, a time of rampant prejudice and blood-and-soil nativism, with more parallels to our own age than we might imagine.
The Man in the Red Coat is at once a fresh and original portrait of the Belle Epoque – its heroes and villains, its writers, artists and thinkers – and a life of a man ahead of his time. Witty, surprising and deeply researched, the new book from Julian Barnes illuminates the fruitful and longstanding exchange of ideas between Britain and France, and makes a compelling case for keeping that exchange alive.
‘An absolute tonic for grey winter days’ Evening Standard
Belle-Epoque Paris comes alive in this biography of a pioneering French doctor, Samuel Jean Pozzi... Barnes, the author of The Sense of an Ending, sketches his subject's life in fascinating detail, including entanglements with Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Sarah Bernhardt. -- Joumana Khatib * New York Times * This lavish study of society surgeon Samuel de Pozzi invites us into a world of artists, libertines and medical innovation... [it's] enjoyably obsessive...biographical detective work. -- Tim Adams * Observer, Book of the Week * As with his masterpiece, A History of the World in 101/2 Chapters (1989), [Barnes'] new book [The Man in the Red Coat] seems different from anything ever written before. -- John Carey * Sunday Times * This elegant, seductive history is a book best read in the spirit of its times. The Man In The Red Coat is less a lesson than a day-dream of France's golden heyday. Wrap yourself in a Japanese tea gown, languish on a peacock-print sofa and abandon yourself to fin-de-siecle Paris and the ministrations of Doctor Love. -- Laura Freeman * Mail on Sunday * Fascinating history, biography and philosophy rolled into one. In The Man in the Red Coat, Barnes is the ideal guide to...a delightful amble through La Belle Epoque... a riveting dissection of an era. -- Martin Chilton * Independent * Julian Barnes's wonderful The Man in the Red Coat surges round Belle Epoque Paris... a story full of digressions, white peacocks, missing limbs, amusing adverbs and fantastic clothes. An absolute tonic for grey winter days. -- Claire Harman * Evening Standard *Books of the Year* * The Belle Epoque is brought to life through three colourful lives in this sparkling account stuffed with top fin-de-siecle tittle-tattle. -- Robbie Millen and James Marriott * The Times *The Best Books of 2019* * Do not google Samuel Jean Pozzi. If you want to enjoy Julian Barnes's The Man in the Red Coat - and believe me, it's teeming with delights - stay away from search engines and trust the author to tell the story in his own way... punctuated by the sound of gunshot...[this is a] brilliant, defiantly unconventional book. -- Adam Begley * Spectator * One of his best books, very handsomely published too... [The Man in the Red Coat is] a bravura performance, highly entertaining. -- David Sexton * Evening Standard, Book of the Week * What a deliciously intelligent entertainment this is, couched in a prose of enviable suppleness... a master is at work here. -- Rupert Christiansen * Daily Telegraph *
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