“This is my first experience of reading a book by Julian Barnes, an English author who won the Booker Man in 2011. I obtained this audio free on an offer I ran across on Twitter shortly after Barnes won the Booker. I had no idea what the book was about when I started to listen to it. I was greatly surprised and pleased to learn that it was about Arthur Conan Doyle. I wished I was reading one of his books while listening to this. Arthur & George is a work of fiction based on a lot of true events and is the story of George Edalj and Arthur Conan Doyle and how their lives intersect. George is the oldest child of Charlotte and Shapurji Edalji. His father is Indian and his mother Scottish (really she was English). George is half Indian and his appearance is different than other children. George also grew up with vision impairment and was not allowed to wear glasses because it was believe they would weaken his eyes. George was accused of ‘ripping’ a horse and causing its death. A third of the book is spent on the trial, conviction and imprisonment of George. This is the best part of the book. Julian Barnes explores or suggests that racism may have been a big factor in the conviction of George Edalgi. The reader is also following the life of Arthur Conan Doyle and his creation of Sherlock Holmes. Arthur decides to fight to have the wrongful conviction of George righted.
I enjoyed this book very much. Many reforms to court process came about because of the wrongful conviction of George. It led to the court of appeals. Another story theme is spiritualist and the complacency of the British over their death and eternal destiny. This was interesting but less so than the trial. The ending was somewhat flat but overall it was a very interesting story. The performance by Nigel Anthony was also a 4 to 5 star performance.