The Man in the Red Coat

The Man in the Red Coat Details

The Man 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

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.

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Title:The Man in the Red Coat
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781473574038
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    The Man in the Red Coat Reviews

  • Beata

    Julian Barnes has done it ... He wrote a book that I read twice, which has not happened to me this year ... The book, which has three central characters, two aristocrats and a commoner who became an a...

  • Meike

    In this nonfictional account, Barnes paints a busy picture of Belle Epoque Paris and London, thus evoking a time of duels and dandyism, the rise of modernity with its faith in rationality, individuali...

  • David Wineberg

    I am not in the habit of picking up biographies of people I never heard of and have no idea why I should. But Julian Barnes proved me quite wrong. He did it in an unusual way, with a dramatic portrait...

  • Rebecca

    I completely misjudged this one: I thought it would be historical fiction, but it's actually narrative nonfiction about an obscure historical figure. I found it dull and impenetrable and gave up after...

  • Marcus Hobson

    In 2013 Julian Barnes published a book called Levels of Life, which as well as confronting the death of his wife, also told tales of early balloon flights over France, early photography and some of th...

  • Mshelton50

    An interesting look at the life of Dr. Samuel Pozzi, the subject of John Singer Sargent's 1881 painting "Dr. Pozzi at Home." I say "a look at the life" because the book is not, strictly speaking, a bi...

  • Sorin Hadrc?

    Well-written and obsessively researched, this biography allows you to immerse in Paris of the Belle Epoque, a fancy perhaps, given that it is Barnes' cup of tea, but also a manifesto: in your face bre...

  • Sabine Hlne

    Author's note, p 266 - London, May 2019:"(...) Still, I decline to be pessimistic. Time spent in the distant, decadent, hectic, violent, narcissistic and neurotic Belle Epoque has left me cheerful. Ma...

  • Janine

    Within one page of opening this book, I relaxed into the arms of a master story-teller. There's that distinctive Julian Barnes voice - intelligent, urbane, confident - and he sustains it the whole way...

  • Jo

    Samuel Pozzi was a famed gynaecologist in 19th century France. He treated the famous and the infamous and hung around with lots of notable folk. This is not just a biography of Pozzi but also of the r...