'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Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense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.
'His affectionately witty attitude to our human foibles is always uplifting . . . superb' The 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
'What is striking about Coe is not so much his flight from Enghlishness as his ambivalent embrace of it ' Financial Times
'Slick . . . stylishly engineered . . . you'll marvel at the extraordinary attention to detail' Spectator
'Millions of words have been and will be written on Brexit but few will get to the heart of why it is happening as incisively as Middle England' John Boyne, Irish Times
'This is a picture of England that comes from a place of compassion and understanding' inews
'Coe is as funny and tender as ever, restoring some humanity to the tumultuous societal backdrop' Grazia
'Middle England combines top-class soap opera storytelling with melancholy insight into what it means to be English' Metro
'A novel for our times . . . complex, human and utterly unique' Stylist
'Very funny . . . Exceptionally good . . . Delightful' BBC Radio 4, Saturday Review
'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
|Publication date||8 November 2018|
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