The Man in the Red Coat

Narrated by: Saul Reichlin
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: History, European
3.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending - a rich, witty, revelatory tour of Belle Epoque Paris, via the remarkable life story of the pioneering surgeon, Samuel Pozzi. 

In the summer of 1885, three Frenchmen arrived in London for a few days' intellectual shopping: a prince, a count, and a commoner with an Italian name. In time, each of these men would achieve a certain level of renown, but who were they then and what was the significance of their sojourn to England? Answering these questions, Julian Barnes unfurls the stories of their lives which play out against the backdrop of the Belle Epoque in Paris. Our guide through this world is Samuel Pozzi, the society doctor, free-thinker, and man of science with a famously complicated private life who was the subject of one of John Singer Sargent's greatest portraits. In this vivid tapestry of people (Henry James, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Proust, James Whistler, among many others), place, and time, we see not merely an epoch of glamour and pleasure, but, surprisingly, one of violence, prejudice, and nativism - with more parallels to our own age than we might imagine. 

The Man in the Red Coat is, at once, a fresh portrait of the Belle Epoque; an illuminating look at the longstanding exchange of ideas between Britain and France; and a life of a man who lived passionately in the moment but whose ideas and achievements were far ahead of his time.

©2019 Julian Barnes (P)2019 Recorded Books

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    3 out of 5 stars

Pathetic narration makes this title unbearable

I am a great admirer of Julian Barnes, so I feel cheated by this production. The narrator's rendering of French words and phrases is preposterous, inconsistent, and frequently incomprehensible. The mannered cadence of his English is ponderous and overdone. After four hours of listening, I could bear no more. The author and listeners deserve better!

9 people found this helpful

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shocking mispronunciations, just shocking

how is it possible that this book is read by a man who has never learned a single word of french? every name, all quotes in french, all titles of french books are butchered! it's terrifying, ugly. is the author aware of this?

7 people found this helpful

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Terrible reader. I couldn't continue.

While I always listen to a sample of potential audiobook purchases to see if the reader's voice itself is agreeable, nothing could have prepared me for what I heard today, when I started listening to my audiobook. Russell Bentley's mispronunciation of French was so egregiously horrible I had to stop listening, and I really wanted to listen to this book, as the subject is of great interest to me. For instance: "Arribo" for "À Rebours," "MaLOM" for "Mallarmé," and "Sadé" for "Sade." These are hardly obscure names when dealing with this subject matter; and those are just some of the worst. In addition, when reading translated excerpts from French writers, Mr Bentley has chosen a completely unnecessary French accent. I question the judgment of whoever hired him to read The Man in the Red Coat. I think a great disservice has been done to Julian Barnes and his subject; I'm exchanging this audiobook, and I'm going to read the book the "old-fashioned" way.

1 person found this helpful

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Julian Barnes should protest

I should have followed the advice of earlier reviewers and skipped this in audio, but I thought Julian Barnes’s writing would transcend poor reading. I was wrong. Sadly, this pompous and slow performance stifles any humor or irony. I had to stop listening after and hour and a quarter.

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Interesting but rambling story

It was interesting about these three protagonists, but rambled a lot about this and that in the belle époque. Just perfect for stilling at home during the covid-19 lock down.