WINNER OF THE THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD 2019
'The book everyone is talking about' The Times
'A comedy for our times' Guardian
The country is changing and, up and down the land, cracks are appearing - within families and between generations.
In the Midlands Benjamin Trotter is trying to help his aged father navigate a Britain that seems to have forgotten he exists, whilst in London his friend Doug doesn't understand why his teenage daughter is eternally enraged. Meanwhile, newlyweds Sophie and Ian can find nothing to agree on except the fact that their marriage is on the rocks . . .
A hilarious follow-up to The Rotters' Club and Closed Circle, Jonathan Coe captures the state of our nation once again!
'Coe's back with a bang. Middle England is the novel about Brexit we need' Daily Telegraph
'A pertinent, entertaining study of a nation in crisis' Financial Times, Books of the Year
'Very funny. Coe - a writer of uncommon decency - reminds us that the way out of this mess is through moderation, through compromise, through that age-old English ability to laugh at ourselves' Observer
Written with his signature wit, Jonathan Coe's unmissable new novel, Bournville, is available to pre-order now!
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Austerity, riots, a divided country. The themes of Jonathan Coe’s novel don’t naturally lend themselves to comedy but his absorbing tale raises plenty of laughs about the state of the nation. Beginning with the formation of the UK’s coalition government in 2010 and ending with Brexit, Middle England tracks a disparate group of characters as they negotiate the country’s rapidly changing tensions and concerns. What emerges beneath the farcical humour is an incisive explanation of how minor and major events, political issues and personal beliefs, can slowly coalesce into a national crisis.
Coe's excellent novel, the third in a trilogy, picks up his characters' lives roughly a decade after the events of The Closed Circle and finds them settled into "the quiet satisfactions of under-achievement" in later middle age in England. Benjamin Trotter, the sentimental would-be novelist, has retired to a bucolic converted mill house; his old classmate Doug Anderton, a leftist journalist, lives comfortably off his wife's fortune; and his sister, Lois, has reached a pleasant, if unexciting, plateau in her career and marriage. Their sense of complacency is lost soon enough; Brexit, and the larger referendum on British identity, looms over the novel, throwing established characters into bewildered frustration and new, younger characters notably Benjamin's niece Sophie, an art historian, and Doug's teenage daughter, Coriander onto the front lines of the culture war. Doug spars with a flippant young communications staffer for then prime minister David Cameron, who seems to speak a different language; Sophie's marriage is upended by conflicting views on Brexit, and she finds herself the target of Coriander's campus activism; Benjamin's ailing father clings to life just long enough to vote "Leave." It's a neat pastiche of the cultural flash points of the past decade, done with humor and empathy. While Coe's own politics will be clear to the reader, the novel is a remarkable portrait of a country at an inflection point.
5 years after Brexit vote..
is a good time to read this novel and to begin to understand why people voted as they did. Entertaining, engaging, easy to read and without being political, very socially revealing.