REVIEW Ù Number 11


REVIEW Ù Number 11 Ñ [Reading] ➺ Number 11 Author Jonathan Coe – This is a novel about the hundreds of tiny connections between the public and private worlds and how they affect us allIt's about the legacy of war and the end of innocenceIt's about how comedy and po This is a novel about the hundreds of tiny connections between the pThis is a novel about the hundreds of tiny connections between the public and private worlds and how they affect us allIt's about the legacy of war and the end of. Jonathan Coe is always entertaining so it is no surprise that this book is a page turner It is also an incisive satire that says much about the strangeness and ineuality at the heart of modern Britain This is a seuel to his earlier book What a Carve Up which was part satire of Thatcherite values and part homage to 50s and 60s British film comedies In the earlier book the Winshaw family caricatured many of the venal aspects of the society of the day in the same way as the D'Ascoynes in Kind Hearts and Coronets and met the same fate This book has a complicated structure almost a loosely linked set of five novellas exploring a similar set of characters who are effectively heirs of the original Winshaws and meting out the same form of justice to them The situations Coe places them in allow him to explore aspects of modern society that did not exist at the time of the previous book such as social media reality TV the abuse of migrant workers the way police procedure is influenced by the media and the lives and building aspirations of London's super rich elite He also introduces a further set of film references notably uatermass and the Pit and What a Whopper which was an apparently risible seuel to the What a Carve Up film involving the Loch Ness Monster This makes for a very enjoyable read but it has its flaws Some of the comedy is just too blunt and simplistic the ending seems very silly in a way that was only just about forgiveable because of the uatermass reference and the characters are often superficial and symbolic for example the one legged black lesbian on benefits who is constructed as a perfect tabloid target but as Coe himself in a postscript that explains many of the inspirations advertised as an exclusive for the Waterstones paperback edition this book was partly intended as a tribute to the late David Nobbs and in that he has undoubtedly succeeded

Jonathan Coe ô 8 REVIEW

InnocenceIt's about how comedy and politics are battling it out and comedy might have wonIt's about how characters can make fools of us allIt's about living in a c. I felt so despondent when I finished this book that I literally lay on my bed in the dark in a state of what I can only describe as existential despair thinking well what do I do now That was how much I enjoyed it so much that I felt distraught when I knew it was overCompletely addictive – and what a fantastic return to form after the lacklustre Expo 58 I read this at breakneck speed barely able to tear myself away from it It tells interconnected stories that revolve around two women Rachel and Alison childhood friends whose lives go in very different directions after what might be a life changing encounter with the 'Mad Bird Woman' when they're both ten years old It's also a very loose seuel to Coe's What a Carve Up and makes numerous callbacks to that novel but you don't need to have read What a Carve Up to enjoy it Politicalsocial commentary mingles with satire mystery and a touch of horror My favourite section was 'The Crystal Garden' which tells of a man's obsessive search for a magical film he watched as a boy

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Number 11Ity where bankers need cinemas in their basements and others need food banks down the streetIt is Jonathan Coe doing what he does best ­ showing us how we live no. This was truly fantastic I'd forgotten uite how much I love Jonathan Coe's writing