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Although this is a fictional novel it ventures into the realms of a biography Barnes or rather Geoffrey Braithwaite the author and narrator recounts many aspects of Gustave Flauberts life and presents us with biographical details and chronology I suppose it could be said that the real writer Barnes is writing a fictional biography of the fictional biographer Geoffrey Braithwaite who in turn is writing a biography on the real writer Gustave Flaubert Due the authorial voice and because I have never read any of Flauberts works I found myself trusting the information that was given to me and therefore trusting the narrator Fairly near the start we learn that there are hidden skeletons in Geoffreys past He promises to reveal them at some point but seems very reluctant to do so This made me almost impatient over the information I was given about Flaubert as I found myself much more curious about Geoffrey and his life It seemed that Geoffrey was hiding behind Flaubert as an excuse to talk about other things He doesnt appear to have much of an exterior or interior life other than it revolving around his project Geoffrey is relating everything back to Flaubert and using him as a lens to view reality This withholding of information and insight into the narrators life ties in well with the curiosity of the reader to know about the writer which Geoffrey comments on throughout the book Barnes is obviously trying to make the point to us that a work of fiction does not necessarily reflect in any way on the writer and as readers we should separate the two This is further compounded by the fact that the reader feels as though Geoffrey is in some way relative to Barnes himself If we take the narrative advice however then Barnes is no more related to Geoffrey than Geoffrey is to Flaubert or Flaubert is to Madame Bovary Barnes is also
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