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Which of two stuffed parrots was the inspiration for one of Flaubert's greatest stories? Why did the master keep changing the color of Emma Bovery's eyes? And why should these minutiae matter so much to Geoffrey Braithwaite, the crankily erudite doctor who is the narrator of this tour de force of style and imagination? Julian Barnes spins a multiple mystery, an exuberant metafictional inquiry into the ways in which art mirrors life and then turns around to shape it; a piercing glimpse at the nature of obsession and betrayal, both scholarly and romantic.