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Bournville: From the bestselling author of Middle England

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In 2012 Coe was invited by Javier Marías to become a duke of the kingdom of Redonda. He chose as his title "Duke of Prunes", after a favourite piece of music by Frank Zappa. A few weeks ago I read and reviewed Ian McEwan‘s most recent novel Lessons. One of the key themes of the novel was how certain major world events affected the main character, a man who was the same age as McEwan, though whose life was very different from McEwan’s. I've only read one other Coe novel - Middle England - and from that limited experience it seems that Coe has a tried-and-tested formula: state of the nation novels focusing on a specific (or a number of specific) events in recent(ish) history, and a tight cast of characters who spend a fair chunk of the narrative ruminating on politics and current affairs in said moment in history. Unlike most such family sagas, Coe's seven-occasion timeline means that the novel often doesn't cover what are generally significant events in the lives of the characters: from one section to the next, for example, we find family members married or now with kids, while the actual weddings and births happen off-screen.

She will have three sons and two of them will have children and THOSE children will have children and, in the meantime, things will inexorably change. Even here in the former colonies, the seven events that shape this novel – VE Day, Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, the World Cup Final, the investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales, the wedding of Charles and Diana, Diana’s funeral, and the 75th anniversary of VE Day – spark emotions. This is another eminently readable Coe, full of believable characters and fizzing dialogue. And it couldn't be more timely Big Issue During the next three-quarters of a century, Mary will have children and grandchildren and great-children. She will live through the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the 1966 World Cup final (the last time England won), royal weddings and royal funerals, Brexit and Covid-19. Parts of the chocolate factory will be transformed into a theme park, and Bournville itself will gradually disappear into the sprawl of the growing city of Birmingham. Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B. S. Johnson, London: Picador, 2004 (winner of the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction) At heart Bournville is a novel designed to make you think by making you laugh, and the seriousness of the subject matter is tempered throughout by the author’s piercing eye for the more ludicrous elements of human nature.Full of vibrant characters and fabulous dialogue, which switches from laugh-out-loud funny to extremely poignant Independent For me a closer comparison would be to Francis Spufford’s Booker longlisted/RSL Encore Prize winning “Light Perpetual” although without the oddly redundant meta-fictional conceit, the welcome exploration of faith and the almost transcendent ending (although see below).

Preston, Alex (25 November 2018). "Middle England by Jonathan Coe review – Brexit comedy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077 . Retrieved 28 December 2018. There is an awful lot to fit in. Political upheaval and awkward class dynamics are set against Britain's obsessive relationship with the royal family and shifting attitudes towards multiculturalism and gay rights. But underpinning it all is the uneasy (often unspoken) debate raging over what it means to be British -- or, perhaps more accurately, English." - Rachel Cunliffe, New Statesman As with Johnson, Coe wanted to try to understand the appeal of a man with so many clearly questionable qualities: “Bond is racist, misogynist, egotistical.” Coe recently persuaded his two daughters, both in their early 20s and familiar only with Daniel Craig’s Bond, to watch For Your Eyes Only. They didn’t get past the opening credits: “Is this what you used to watch in the 70s?” they asked. B ournville, we learn from Jonathan Coe’s notes at the end of the novel, is the fourth in a planned quintet he’s writing under the general title of Unrest. This book also overlaps with the trilogy that began with The Rotter s’ Club and continued with The Closed Circleand the Costa award-winning Middle England. All these interweaving plotlines, all the reappearing names, events and, above all, places give the impression of an author whose work is driven by an almost obsessive need to take new perspectives on the past (and its role in shaping the present), to rehearse and re-rehearse foundation myths both personal and national.Bournville is a quiet village in the heart of England famous for its chocolate. For eleven-year-old Mary, it is the center of her world, the place where most of her family’s friends and neighbors have worked for decades and where the streets smell faintly of chocolate. So Bournbrook, they decided, would not quite do. A variation was chosen. Bournville. The name of a village not just founded upon, and devoted to, but actually dreamed into being by chocolate. Jonathan Coe never gives his characters short shrift. Despite the 75-year time span and the large cast of characters, the book is eminently readable and defines characters through the events they lived through. Particularly insightful is when one of the younger characters, with pretensions of becoming a world-famous author, slams into reality when his glossy portrayal of Wales collides with the truth of Britain’s treatment of it. Jonathan, Coe (8 November 2018). Middle England. [London]. ISBN 9780241309469. OCLC 1065525001. {{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher ( link) Coe donated a story to Oxfam's " Ox-Tales" project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Coe's story was published in the Earth collection. [14]

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