'It was tempting to think, at times like this, that some bizarre hysteria had gripped the British people'
Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change.
There are newlyweds Ian and Sophie, who disagree about the future of the country and, possibly, the future of their relationship; Doug, the political commentator who writes impassioned columns about austerity from his Chelsea townhouse, and his radical teenage daughter who will stop at nothing in her quest for social justice; Benjamin Trotter, who embarks on an apparently doomed new career in middle age, and his father Colin, whose last wish is to vote in the European referendum. And within all these lives is the story of modern England: a story of nostalgia and delusion; of bewilderment and barely-suppressed rage.
Following in the footsteps of The Rotters' Club and The Closed Circle, Jonathan Coe's new novel is the novel for our strange new times.
'From post-industrial Birmingham to the London riots and the current political gridlock, [Middle England] takes in family, literature and love in a comedy for our times' Guardian
'Coe shows an understanding of this country that goes beyond what most cabinet ministers can muster . . . his light, funny writing makes you feel better' Evening Standard
'Middle England is a full-blooded state of the nation novel, and it brings us bang up-to-date' Sunday Times
Coe is an extraordinarily deft plotter...the book zips along...he tackles big ambitious themes, in this case the effect of politics on people's lives, and political opinions on personal relations' Mail on Sunday
'Sublimely good. Funny, tender, human and intelligent ... the state of the (Brexit) nation novel to end them all. Jonathan Coe's best since What a Carve Up!' India Knight
'An astute, enlightened and enlightening journey into the heart of our current national identity crisis. Both moving and funny. As we'd expect from Coe' Ben Elton
'The first great Brexit novel' Sathnam Sanghera
'Let me add to the chorus of praise forJonathan Coe's new book Middle England. Easily my favourite of his since What a Carve Up!, which did for Thatcherism what Middle England does for Brexit' John Crace
'Brilliant. Read it too fast, finished it too soon' Nigella Lawson
'Coe's comic critique of a divided country dazzles . . . Properly laugh-out-loud funny . . . it is also incisive and brilliant about our divided country and the deep chasms revealed by the vote to leave. Do not miss' The Bookseller
'A copper bottomed masterpiece' Barney Norris
|Publisher||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Publication date||8 November 2018|
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