!!> Reading ➵ Middle England ➭ Author Jonathan Coe – Tkcleaningservices.co.uk

Middle England Set In The Midlands And London Over The Last Eight Years, Jonathan Coe Follows A Brilliantly Vivid Cast Of Characters Through A Time Of Immense Change And Disruption In Britain There Are The Early Married Years Of Sophie And Ian Who Disagree About The Future Of Britain And, Possibly, The Future Of Their Relationship Sophie S Grandfather Whose Final Act Is To Send A Postal Vote For The European Referendum Doug, The Political Commentator, Whose Young Daughter Despairs Of His Lack Of Political Nous And Doug S Remaining Tory Politician Partner Who Is Savaged By The Crazed Trolls Of Twitter And Within All These Lives Is The Story Of England Itself A Story Of Nostalgia And Irony Of Friendship And Rage, Humour And Intense BewildermentAs Acutely Alert To The Absurdity Of The Political Classes As He Is Compassionate About Those Who Have Been Left Behind, This Is A Novel Jonathan Coe Was Born To Write First off, Middle England is the third book in Jonathan Coe s Rotter s Club series but I ve not read either The Rotter s Club or The Closed Circle and you don t need to either if you re thinking of picking this one up it works fine as a standalone piece but maybe if you ve read the previous two books you might getout of it because you ll know the characters better Anyway, Middle England is a fantastic novel about the Brexit referendum with events starting in 2010, leading up to the decisi First off, Middle England is the third book in Jonathan Coe s Rotter s Club series but I ve not read either The Rotter s Club or The Closed Circle and you don t need to either if you re thinking of picking this one up it works fine as a standalone piece but maybe if you ve read the previous two books you might getout of it because you ll know the characters better Anyway, Middle England is a fantastic novel about the Brexit referendum with events starting in 2010, leading up to the decisive moment, and the immediate aftermath There s a Dickensian cast of characters whose lives we follow throughout the years Benjamin is in his fifties, divorced, and struggling to complete his first novel that s become a sprawling mess his niece Sophie has to navigate the ultra liberal culture of modern universities while seeing the opposite attitudes in her husband Ian s elderly mother Helena, whose racism towards her Lithuanian housekeeper is barely disguised Doug is a political reporter in a failing marriage, looking into the people driving this anti European agenda while his increasingly angry teenage daughter Coriander becomes a social justice warrior those are the main ones but there s plenty of other great characters here too I loved Doug s meetings with the smug, cocky young Conservative deputy assistant director of communications job titles these days , Nigel, which were really fun and had some great dialogue that could ve come straight out of The Thick of It The pretentious literary author Lionel Hampshire was amusing, as was the subplot about the two warring children s entertainers a swipe at the two main political parties There s lots of surprising little gems of scenes sprinkled throughout The romance that never was between Sophie and Adam in Marseilles was unexpectedly moving and the description of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was brilliant And I really enjoyed how Benjamin s story played out, particularly when a journalist from one of the national papers interviews him and the subsequent article that s written about him I didn t love all of it the stuff about Benjamin s ailing dad Colin was dull and predictable Coe is definitely a liberal and, though he s not completely blinkered as to be unaware of opposing arguments, the ending was definitely idyllic to the point of fantasy and very sentimental I m not totally convinced that Sophie would ve been quite so successful with such a niche academic background but then the world of academia is largely unknown to me so, who knows, maybe it s accurate And, while Coe doesn t provide any fresh insight into why Brexit happened, he does encapsulate a lot of the arguments for and against leaving the EU succinctly and,importantly, presents them in an entertaining and well written story Even if you re bored of hearing about Brexit and who isn t at this point , Middle England is still a terrific read one of Jonathan Coe s best Too long Far, far, far too long Also, the enormous amount of time that Coe spent describing the major British political and social events of the past ten years frequently left me wondering whether this was a novel or a short history of modern Britain Altogether, the work was 200 pages too long, and a deeply frustrating read. For me, Jonathan Coe s novels feel like a form of literary comfort food or guilty pleasure You know they will be funny at times, sentimental at others and topical This state of the nation return to the characters created in Documenting the past decade through a fairly large cast of characters, Middle England is a hugely enjoyable chronicle but has slightly too many plots for its own good. Set between the general election of 2010 that ushered in the coalition government and September 2018, this is a state of the nation novel that tells the story of our times Anyone who voted Leave may want to approach this with caution and have the blood pressure tablets handy the rest of us can relive the tumultuous events of the last 8 years from the riots to Jo Cox, from the Olympics to the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn, and all the hideous hatred and vitriolic rhetoric that Brexit has legitim Set between the general election of 2010 that ushered in the coalition government and September 2018, this is a state of the nation novel that tells the story of our times Anyone who voted Leave may want to approach this with caution and have the blood pressure tablets handy the rest of us can relive the tumultuous events of the last 8 years from the riots to Jo Cox, from the Olympics to the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn, and all the hideous hatred and vitriolic rhetoric that Brexit has legitimised Coe isn t really saying anything new here as his characters line up on both sides of the debate those who think there s nothing wrong in poking fun at lezzers vegetarian, at that , or quoting Enoch Powell s rivers of blood speech with a patronising told you so air or those with ainclusive, compassionate, complex and layered sense of what it means to be English today like young academic Sophie There s less humour here than we might expect from Coe but I would guess that he s as disheartened as many of us with the re emergence of the alt right, the wistful yearning to turn the clock back to a mythical 1950s England, and the utter chaos caused by Brexit For all that, there s a tentatively hopeful ending though it has to take place partly outside of England itself Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC via NetGalley There are only a few books which I ve readthan once Pride and Prejudice is one of them Brave New World another And in this rare group you ll also find Jonathan Coe s What a Carve Up Sadly, his latest book, Middle England, will not be joining my fiction hall of fame It seems Coe was asked to write a book about Brexit and that s what he did He resurrected his characters from The Rotters Club another great novel and put them into Britain s turbulent 21st C political landscape And ye There are only a few books which I ve readthan once Pride and Prejudice is one of them Brave New World another And in this rare group you ll also find Jonathan Coe s What a Carve Up Sadly, his latest book, Middle England, will not be joining my fiction hall of fame It seems Coe was asked to write a book about Brexit and that s what he did He resurrected his characters from The Rotters Club another great novel and put them into Britain s turbulent 21st C political landscape And yet those characters who were so engaging in The Rotters Club, seem so dull in Middle England Because here s the thing Brexit is boring Yes, it s important Yes, I have a viewpoint I ve even taken to the streets to express it, and yet I find it as dull as dishwater In Middle England, Benjamin had written a book, which he asked his friends to critique and one of them advises him to get rid of some of the political, historical stuff well, actually, all of it But if you took away Coe s political stuff, there d be little left That s not to say I didn t enjoy Doug s chats with the Tory spin doctor, the rivalry between the children s entertainers and Colin s selective memories of Midlands manufacturing But without the Brexit timeline, there was little narrative to keep it going I m sorry for the low ratings, because I really am a Jonathan Coe fan It s just on this occasion, he lacked the necessary biro And if anyone doesn t get that joke, read What a Carve Up Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.Edited to insert the missing apostrophe into The Rotters Club I m so ashamed Jonathan Coe has been one of our foremost British exponents of the state of the nation genre, with a series of novels following a group of friends throughout their formative years, starting from their schooldays in 2001 with The Rotters Club His current novel covers eight years from 2010 and includes many memorable news references Gordon Brown s faux pas about the bigoted woman, Ed Miliband s bacon sandwich, the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, and his main topic here the political fault Jonathan Coe has been one of our foremost British exponents of the state of the nation genre, with a series of novels following a group of friends throughout their formative years, starting from their schooldays in 2001 with The Rotters Club His current novel covers eight years from 2010 and includes many memorable news references Gordon Brown s faux pas about the bigoted woman, Ed Miliband s bacon sandwich, the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, and his main topic here the political fault lines leading to the earthquake of Brexit.Coe s comedy of manners style is polished and very readable but his satirical approach is disappointingly marred in this instance by his own blatantly biased stance The sympathetic characters are all Remainers and the Brexiteers are depicted as deplorables with one character in particular coming across as such a villainous caricature as to be laughable rather than despicable Unfortunately, this level of comedy is just about the only humour in the novel apart from a farcical episode in a wardrobe The black and white stereotyping results in many characters being mere mouthpieces for the views of a cosy metropolitan elite of writers, academics and left wing journalists who all toe the line of Guardianista political dogma.I think abalanced portrayal of the national mood outside this middle class bubble would have made the social satire a lot sharper andhonest, too Sadly, Coe seems to have misread this mood just as much as those Remainers who were stunned by the Referendum result.Thanks to the publisher for the ARC via Netgalley Middle England revisits characters from Coe s earlier novels I didn t realise until the very end thatA Rose Between Two Thornsthe novel written by the hero, Benjamin Trotter is based round a metaphor for post war Britain leading up to Brexit The French student staying at his writing school gives the game away.it conveys the desolation of a lifelived by the hero, metaphorically the UKthat is built entirely on failure For me it is the story of a man who has failed in every area of his life and so he invests all his dreams of happiness toI didn t realise until the very end thatA Rose Between Two Thornsthe novel written by the hero, Benjamin Trotter is based round a metaphor for post war Britain leading up to Brexit The French student staying at his writing school gives the game away.it conveys the desolation of a lifelived by the hero, metaphorically the UKthat is built entirely on failure For me it is the story of a man who has failed in every area of his life and so he invests all his dreams of happiness to this one woman, this one love affair which turns out to be the greatest failure of all It s a life which lacks any kind of achievement, any kind of self knowledge and so in the end any kind of hope.The book was a bit too middle class for me, which is saying something as I m about as middle class as they get


About the Author: Jonathan Coe

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread forinformationJonathan Coe, born 19 August 1961 in Birmingham, is a British novelist and writer His work usually has an underlying preoccupation with political issues, although this serious engagement is often expressed comically in the form of satire For example, What a Carve Up reworks the plot of an old 1960s spoof horror film of the same name, in the light of the carve up of the UK s resources which some felt was carried out by Margaret Thatcher s right wing Conservative governments of the 1980s Coe studied at King Edward s School, Birmingham and Trinity College, Cambridge, before teaching at the University of Warwick where he completed a PhD in English Literature In July 2006 he was given an honorary degree by The University of Birmingham Retrieved 10 55, February 2, 2009 from


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top