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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2005. 

A Richard and Judy Book Club Selection. 

This novel is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's extraordinary real-life fight for justice. Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late 19th-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer, George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age; George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages. 

George Edjali's father is Indian, his mother Scottish. When the family begins to receive vicious anonymous letters, many about their son, they put it down to racial prejudice. They appeal to the police, to no less than the Chief Constable, but to their dismay he appears to suspect George of being the letters' author. Then someone starts slashing horses and livestock. Again the police seem to suspect the shy, aloof Birmingham solicitor. He is arrested and, on the flimsiest evidence, sent to trial, found guilty and sentenced to seven years' hard labour. 

Arthur Conan Doyle, famous as the creator of the world's greatest detective, is mourning his first wife (having been chastely in love for 10 years with the woman who was to become his second) when he hears about the Edjali case. Incensed at this obvious miscarriage of justice, he is galvanised into trying to clear George's name. With a mixture of detailed research and vivid imagination, Julian Barnes brings to life not just this long-forgotten case but the inner lives of these two very different men. 

©2019 Julian Barnes (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Arthur & George

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Fun but

I loved Metroland. The humor was wonderful in that book. Also saw a movie based off one of his books that I liked so much that I Iooked for his writing. This book was much longer and not as good… in fact maybe they are two different authors!

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Profile Image for anne.sherry
  • anne.sherry
  • 10-18-21

Dear Julian

If I had written an excellent book and wanted to share it with audiophiles I would have been more scrupulous in finding the right narrator.
Whilst the reader has a pleasant voice he delivers possibly the worst accents I have ever heard. In addition his pronunciation is so bad I have drawn strange looks shouting out random words in my annoyance! Consequently I could only listen at home…..
Perhaps you were unable to exert influence on the producers of this audiobook- if so, that’s a shame.
I hope people can get past this and listen to the end- it’s difficult but still worth the effort!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs.Mary E.Torney
  • 07-25-21

Poor Scottish accent

This was a wonderful, interesting, well-written, well- researched and engaging story - but why place the burden of so many accents on a narrator who flagged and failed to maintain even consistency with the bizarre renditions of Scottish and even rural English accents? His characterisation of rural people a slow, dull and halting, or sly and prejudiced and venal did no justice to the author’s intent.
However the story held my interest past the distraction of accents and somewhat strange pronunciation and I followed it to the end.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Siggs
  • 09-13-21

Good story but unfortunate reader

This was a good story from Julian Barnes but unfortunately the reader was very poor. He misread and mispronounced words, his accents were not good and he broke up sentences so that they became meaningless. Is there no director or editor to check these things? This is not the first time the lack of literacy of the reader has spoilt audio books for me. Come on audible, get some quality control.

6 people found this helpful

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  • James D
  • 08-28-21

Fascinating tale

This is a fascinating, true, tale with painstaking research, which records an important, but overlooked, chapter in the development of the modern justice system.
The characters are superbly drawn. The attention to detail is admirable, but for me overworked. For me it would have been improved with some of the repetition removed.
The narrator is generally excellent, but marred by a number of surprising mispronunciations and excruciating ‘Scottish’ and/or ‘Irish’ accents which were frankly embarrassing in this type of production.

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  • B.W.
  • 03-23-22

I wonder how a contemporary account would read?

This is a fictionalised account of events that occurred in the early 20th century. I have no idea what sources where available to the author has applied a 21st C filter in the thoughts and dialogue of the main protagonists. Perhaps I am just uncomfortable with 'faction' but I didn't have this problem with Robert Harris's An Officer and a Spy, his retelling of the Dreyfus case. That aside, my nain problem was with the standard of the narration which somewhat spoiled my listening experience. As many others have stated, there were a number of odd pronunciations, the accents were completely off and emphases often placed in the wrong part of the sentence. I am not blaming the narrator who was probably trying to do his best but rather whoever is responsible for producing this. I would definitely be sending this back if I hadn't got this on an offer.

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  • Anne Dudley
  • 05-24-22

Interesting

Interesting but boring in places, I really struggled to finish it. The narrator had a good voice but some of the names on towns he didn't pronounce them right. I am from Wolverhampton & quite often go to Wales Aberystwyth certainly wasn't pronounced right & it was certainly annoying hearing him saying it.