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`The world's multiplicity is splendidly evoked; characters dart together and flash apart like goldfish.' - David Hill

What happens when an ordinary man becomes a messiah? A witty, prescient and eloquent satire by one of New Zealand’s finest writers.

Far into the twenty-first century, Albous Slaven's life is spectacularly and irrevocably altered after he hangs for an instant from a power line. While recuperating, he senses a new-found gift; the gift of oratory.

Driven to hold rallies throughout New Zealand, Slaven astounds and alarms the ruling politicians. He too is astounded and often bemused by the response of the tens of thousands who flock to hear him. But what is his message? Is he a Messiah, a political saviour, or an idealist who conjures up forces he can neither understand nor control?

Shortlisted for the Montana Book Award for Fiction and described by Vincent O'Sullivan as `Delightfully sardonic; philosophically mischievous', this novel deftly and disconcertingly explores its characters' lives in this lyrical picture of New Zealand.


In these richly lyrical passages Marshall is at his most characteristic and at his most brilliant.

Elizabeth Caffin

Delightfully sardonic; philosophically mischievous.

Vincent O'Sullivan

The world's multiplicity is splendidly evoked; characters dart together and flash apart like goldfish.

David Hill

The quiet narrative confidence and Updikian attention to minutiae make this novel as texturally rich and assured as the best of Marshall's stories.

Michael Morrissey

It is a really great novel and may well be seen as a landmark in our national literature.

Ian Dixon

A Many Coated Man is a dark, disconcerting novel, a visionary work well worth the wait. It stalks the imagination of the reader.

Graeme Lay

If there has been any doubt about whether his prowess in the art of the short story could be extended to the longer form, A Many Coated Man is a complete answer to it.

W.J. McEldowney

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    October 31, 2014

    Random House New Zealand

    280 pages

    Online retailers

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Also by Owen Marshall

Love as a Stranger
The Larnachs
Living As a Moon
Carnival Sky
View from the South
Sojourn in Arles
Essential New Zealand Short Stories
Harlequin Rex


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden House
The Bear and The Nightingale
Ready Player One
The Trip of a Lifetime
On Chesil Beach
Animal Farm
The Light Between Oceans
A Long Way from Home
The Travelling Cat Chronicles