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 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
The Man in the Red Coat