Chapter

What happened to the truth is not recorded: <i>Flaubert’s Parrot</i>

Peter Childs

in Julian Barnes

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081064
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700020 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719081064.003.0004
What happened to the truth is not recorded: Flaubert’s Parrot

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Flaubert's Parrot (1984) inasmuch as it is Braithwaite's story is a poignant study of loss and displacement completing a trilogy of novels that could be said to focus on common preoccupations of youth and middle age, both early and late, married and bereaved. Flaubert's Parrot is a novel at one remove: partly a novel about a novelist, partly a novel about a man obsessed with a novelist, and partly a novel about the business of novel-writing. It is also a strange kind of life-writing about the real Gustave Flaubert, a portrait of whose life becomes ever more complex as the identification of his parrot becomes more complicated, and the fictional Geoffrey Braithwaite, whose life-story slowly emerges in glimpses, but in a way that leaves the reader with questions, as Braithwaite has of Flaubert.

Keywords: loss; Julian Barnes; Geoffrey Braithwaite; novel-writing; Gustave Flaubert

Chapter.  6236 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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