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The Rotters' Club (Rotters' Club #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  7,241 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
At a time when people are looking back on the 1970s with nostalgia, Jonathan Coe's The Rotters' Club is a timely reminder of how ghastly that benighted decade was in Britain. Set in the "industrial" heartland of the West Midlands, it chronicles the growing pains of four Brummie schoolboys--Philip, Sean, Doug, and Benjamin--who must come to terms not only with the normal pa ...more
Paperback, 406 pages
Published 2002 by Penguin (first published February 22nd 2001)
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Sep 19, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-life
Ένα βιβλίο για τη ζωή στην αγγλική επαρχία της δεκαετίας του 1970… Ε και; Τι με ενδιαφέρει εμένα να αυτό, δεδομένου ότι δεν είμαι ούτε ιστορικός (εντάξει, δεν μου φαίνεται τόσο μακρινή η δεκαετία του ’70, λαογράφος ας πω), ούτε Αγγλίδα (φτου μακριά), ούτε κοινωνιολόγος ή πολιτικός επιστήμονας για να ενδιαφέρει η εξέλιξη της κοινωνίας της Αγγλίας. Βασικά, πραγματικά, το θέμα του βιβλίου δεν με ενδιέφερε καθόλου…

Αλλά, ο Coe είναι άπαιχτος. Πρωταγωνιστές είναι μια ομάδα έφηβων μαθητών που τους συνα
Jun 12, 2016 Chris_P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-diamonds
It was the world, the world itself that was beyond his reach, this whole absurdly vast, complex, random, measureless construct, this never-ending ebb and flow of human relations, political relations, cultures, histories… How could anyone hope to master such things? It was not like music. Music always made sense. The music he heard that night was lucid, knowable, full of intelligence and humour, wistfulness and energy and hope. He would never understand the world, but he would always love this m
Vit Babenco
Jul 11, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Telling his controversially romantic story Jonathan Coe is at the same time most ironic and nostalgic.
When we grow up it seems to us that we live in the best of times. But reality may be quite different… And the middle of the seventies was the time of stagnation.
“They sat and drank their pints. The tables in which their faces were dimly reflected were dark brown, the darkest brown, the colour of Bournville chocolate. The walls were a lighter brown, the colour of Dairy Milk. The carpet was brown
Apr 10, 2015 Homer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Απρόσμενα καλό βιβλίο. Το περίμενα ως ένα κλασσικό μυθιστόρημα ενηλικίωσης, κάτι φίλοι στο σχολείο, τυπικά Αγγλάκια που μεγαλώνουν στο αυστηρό βρετανικό εκπαιδευτικό σύστημα. Βασικά είναι ένα πολιτικό βιβλίο, σε μια ταραγμένη Αγγλία στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 70, εν μέσω απεργιών, και κλείνει με την άνοδο της Θάτσερ στην εξουσία. Οι ενήλικες, γονείς των παιδιών δουλεύουν σε ένα εργοστάσιο που απεργεί, και μεταξύ τους σχέσεις, μέσα σε μια Αγγλία που σείεται. Βιβλίο-μωσαϊκό (αφηγήσεις σε πρώτο κ ...more
May 29, 2007 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like their novels to have a little bit of everything
Much to my delight, this held up very strong on the second read. Before I re-read it, I browsed through some of the reviews others had written on this site, and it made me nervous - maybe I just loved this book so much because I was young and it's about youth, so I just connected to it out of a common vim and vigor.

Not the case.

Not only did I love it the second time around, I think I liked it even more.

As much as I don't like to compare authors so much, I can't help but describe this as Rushdie
Oct 21, 2013 Eleni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Great guy wishes groovy chick to write, into Tull, Pink Floyd, 17-28.’

‘Wanted girl friend, any age, but 4 ft. 10 in. or under, all letters answered.’

“Guy, 18, cat lover, seeks London chick, into Sabbath. Only Freaks please.”

“Freaky Guy (20) wants crazy chick (16+) for love. Into Quo and Zep”

Leeds boy with scooter, looks OK, seeks girlfriend 17-21 for discos, concerts. Photo appreciated

[Note: the above are quotations from genuine lonely hearts advertisements in Sounds (1973)]

Why the hell had I n
Georgina Koutrouditsou
Να και εγώ στον γνώριμο κόσμο-για πολλούς-του Τζόναθαν Κόου.
Και τελικά όσοι μου το έλεγαν είχαν δίκιο,αξίζει.Πολύ!
Υπέροχος λόγος και μετάφραση,αρχικά.Το περιεχόμενο με μετέφερε σε περιοχές και ιστορίες που δεν ήξερα.Επίσης όλο το βιβλίο έχει μουσικές και αυτό το κάνει μοναδικό,με τις υποσημειώσεις του.Επίσης εξαιρετικό το επίμετρο-σχόλιο μιας εποχής άγνωστης στην χώρα μας.Αλήθεια,πόσο φωτίζεται η βρετανική κοινωνία μέσω του Κόου;Πολύ,θα έλεγα.
Οπότε συνεχίζω δυναμικά στον κόσμο του Κόου,καθώς μάλ
Dec 22, 2016 Nasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copies
One thing is certain: I thoroughly enjoy reading everything written by Coe, his prose is to the point, cynical and very very British! I learned quite a lot about Britain in the 70's and I absolutely loved the longest English sentence, comprising of 13,955 words.
Nov 08, 2015 Ophelinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My second reading of The Rotters' club has made me notice so many little things I had somehow missed the first time round. This is Coe at his sharpest, unveiling inconvenient sides of England - the elitism, the social
Stratification, the racism, the destruction of welfare state under Thatcher, the war conducted against trade unions - the dark side of a country I have come to love so much, told by characters who stick with the reader long after the novel has been finished and put back in the shelf
Jul 26, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
The last Jonathan Coe that I read: A group of boys in the 70's try to form a prog rock band but end up ditching it for punk - at least that's the story on the surface. It's a political tale in the vein of Coe's masterpiece, What A Carve Up! and equally potent and maybe funnier. A good place to start if you've never read Coe before.
May 06, 2012 Paolo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il club dei rotter (il titolo originale, preso in prestito da una canzone, è un gioco di parole con il cognome della famiglia del protagonista principale del romanzo, Benjamin Trotter) lascia soddisfatti a metà. Forse perché il libro è di fatto un incompiuto, separato artificialmente dal suo seguito naturale (pubblicato poi in Circolo chiuso), ma il sapore che resta al termine della lettura copre, fino quasi a sfumarlo, il gusto di aver assistito a un maestoso, cupo affresco dell'Inghilterra deg ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Tahira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me at least 100 pages to finally settle into The Rotter's Club. It certainly does not fit the kind of profile of book that I tend to read, but I was feeling a little uninspired and this book was recommended to me.

It was hard to keep track of the layered plot lines initially, but I eventually got a hold of them. I also felt as though I would have been better equipped had I known more about Britain during the 1970s. But there was something charming about a lot of the characters, perhaps be
Neil Fox
In physical years, the 1970's are closer to the end of WW2 than they are to where we sit today in 2017. But as a State of mind, the 70's seem light years away, an anomaly of a Decade or a unique State of Mind that was very different to the Swinging 60's preceeding it or the 80's that came after. For myself and my contemporaries now in our late 40's, the 70's inhabit a dusty, murky corner of Childhood memory, and for friends of mine in their 50's they define an adolescence with a context that was ...more
Justin Evans
May 15, 2011 Justin Evans rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This gave me almost everything I want. What do I want from a novel? I want it funny but sincere; hard-nosed but sentimental; readable but formally interesting; restrained but also balls to the wall. Ideally it'll be concerned with social events while grounding them in personal lives.
RC isn't laugh out loud funny, but it's pretty funny. I felt a bit bad laughing at people who get excited at the culinary possibilities of sour cream and sometimes Coe takes too many cheap shots of the 'boy the seve
Feb 20, 2013 Philtrum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s something of a mystery to me how I missed this book for so many years. It was published in 2001 but I didn’t get around to reading it until 2013.

I had been aware of it, vaguely. Had I know what it was about, I’m sure I would have read it much sooner.

Why? Well, aside from the fact I couldn’t have written it – not having the necessary literary skills – it might have been about my life.

The story concerns a group of four boys who attend a public (private) school in Birmingham (UK) in the 1970s,
I feel bad about giving this 2 stars, because I love the way Jonathan Coe writes. But unfortunately I only made it to the three quarters mark before I decided not to continue. It's not a bad story, but it's so slow. I just got too bored. If it was a quarter of the length, I'd probably give it 4 stars. It doesn't help that I'm not interested in politics either, this being a major part of the story. I mainly like the way he writes about relationships and interactions, but affair after affair begin ...more
Luc Sponger
May 02, 2017 Luc Sponger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alleen al het laatste hoofdstuk van een razend puberbrein maakt dit origineel vertelde verhaal de moeite van het lezen waard . In het grauwe Engeland van de jaren 70 en begin 80 van de vorige eeuw , tegen een achtergrond van stakingen , de IRA ,racisme en opkomende punkmuziek volgen we een groep middelbare scholieren in Birmingham . Rauw , grappig en soms hartverscheurend melancholisch wordt niet alleen knap een tijdsbeeld geschetst maar ook fraai een verhaal verteld van de verwarring en onzeker ...more
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglesi
Istintivamente ci voltammo tutti verso la finestra e guardammo fuori, verso la spiaggia, e adesso quando ripenso a quel pomeriggio il mio ricordo più nitido è la luce che vedemmo, quel cielo da pittori, grigioazzurro come gli occhi di Marie e dei suoi nipoti, il colore di un dolore che non se ne andrà mai.

E' proprio vero: La banda dei Brocchi ha fatto per gli anni Settanta ciò che La famiglia Winshaw aveva fatto per gli anni Ottanta: un ricchissimo spaccato di società e vita inglese durante un d
Germano Dalcielo
Ho comprato questo libro sulla scia delle recensioni entusiastiche che si trovano online, ma, ahimè, già dalle prime 25 pagine volevo lanciare il libro dalla finestra. Si viene catapultati nell'Inghilterra degli anni '70 in un contesto storico-sociale che per un lettore non anglofono non è facile inquadrare o ricostruire su due piedi, per non parlare del "pallottoliere" umano di cui si rinuncia in partenza a fissare parentele, amicizie, legami di sangue o relazioni sentimentali. Si prosegue nell ...more
Paul The Uncommon Reader
My world

Ah, this is an easy review to write!

I loved this book for entirely selfish and ego-centric reasons: it was written by a man of my nationality, age and social class. It is set in his/my teenage years, and its references, events, feel and whole approach is so close to my own, that every few pages I felt I was back there, a teenager in 1976 whose life centre consisted of pretentious prog rock bands, strange encounters with utterly non world-changing things like girls and personal religion (

mrs rin
Nov 25, 2016 mrs rin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
(view spoiler) ...more
Oct 31, 2012 Sera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I had read The Rain Before It Falls and the House of Sleep by the same writer before. I loved those two books as well but they are definitely not as good as the Rotters' Club. I am even going to say "nothing more than nice reads" when they are compared to this one.

As one of those impressing novels which is both hilarious and touching at the same time with all those bittersweet moments of characters, The Rotters' Club is more than an average coming of age story. The political background and 70s
Feb 22, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written, witty novel. Set in Birmingham in the 70's in the midst of industrial action, IRA bombings, a political time and later on the punk rock era. The story is set in a boy's grammar school very much like the one my husband attended on the other side of Birmingham. Viewed by labour voters, socialists and communists as elite, only attainable by an entrance exam. You feel the competitiveness to achieve in academic studies and sports. It is very easy to imagine school bullies looking ...more
Ecco la recensione della mia prima lettura del 2017!

"La banda dei brocchi" segue le vicissitudini di un gruppo di ragazzi che frequentano il King Williams, una scuola d'élite di Birmingham, negli anni '70 e delle loro rispettive famiglie nel clima politico del tempo.

Nonostante sia stata una lettura molto piacevole e a tratti divertente, per certi aspetti ricorda molto Nick Hornby, mi ha lasciata insoddisfatta. Avevo sentito parlare molto bene di questo libro, soprattutto per la sua capacità
Lee Foust
The phrase that jumps to mind, critically, as I sit to compose a response to this novel is "Jack of all trades, master of none." The Rotter's Club does many things pretty well: smooth read, engrossing enough plot, interesting enough characters, fine evocation of time period (1970s) and place (Birmingham), political/social commentary/observation on class and race in that place and time so pivotal, in retrospect, to those of us of that generation, in forming today's horror show. I also personally ...more
Dec 25, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This reminded me of "The Secret Lemonade Drinker", but this book had greater depth (or is that true, when Bellamy's novel has stuck in my memory for such a long time?) A novel like this just usually doesn't appeal to me, and normally I'd be asking "What's the point?" by page five. "What's the point" of creating vaguely comic fiction over vaguely interesting characters set in a vaguely interesting time? But the novel drew me in with its easy style, likeable characters and occasional strong narrat ...more
Alan Chen
It's Birmingham, England between 1973-1978. 4 friends attend the same elite private school but not all come from the same level of privilege. This is the time of class struggle, unions vs factory owners, Tory vs liberal, strikes, IRA, punk rock, racism, and through all this we have these boys growing up and dealing with their first romances, puberty, infidelity of their parents and beyond their personal sphere, a changing country that is quickly expanding/rebelling. The novel brings the world ev ...more
May 17, 2011 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm kind of a sucker for books set in England. I just love to visit there in my imagination. And this book was particularly interesting to me not only because I am roughly the age of the characters, but also because I learned so much about Britain in the 70's. Did you know that Eric Clapton once went on a racist rant at one of his concerts in England in the mid-70's? I had never heard that. I also didn't know that there were so many strikes and so much labor unrest at that time. But real ...more
Oct 08, 2009 Godzilla rated it really liked it
Shelves: growing-pains, 2010
An interesting re-read: it must be almost a decade since I first read this.

It did transport me back to my school days again: the petty squabbles and first loves are evoked beautifully. There we lots of incidental characters who clearly were omnipresent in British schools of that era.

The plot pivots around a coupel of key incidents which show how they can polarise viewpoints.

The racist issue certainly rekindled memories for me: we too only had one black pupil in my school, and there were tensions
Oct 09, 2007 Rowan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was really good! The plot and characters twist, and sometimes I did have to go back and re-read sections to recall who was who, but that adds to the fun of the story.

Four families, their stories told mostly by their school age sons, live in Birmingham in the 70's. The book is about England in those times (Freaks, the music scene, hippies, punk, the unions, the working class, the Jamaican immigrants, the IRA) and how lives of ordinary people are impacted by the changing times. Since the main
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jonathan Coe, born 19 August 1961 in Birmingham, is a British novelist and writer. His work usually has an underlying preoccupation with political issues, although this serious engagement is often expressed comically in the form of satire. For example, What a Carve Up! rew
More about Jonathan Coe...

Other Books in the Series

Rotters' Club (2 books)
  • The Closed Circle (Rotters' Club, #2)

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“Sometimes I feel that I am destined always to be offstage whenever the main action occurs. That God has made me the victim of some cosmic practical joke, by assigning me little more than a walk-on part in my own life. Or sometimes I feel that my role is simply to be a spectator to other people's stories, and always to wander away at the most important moment, drifiting into the kitchen to make a cup of tea just as the denouement unfolds.” 28 likes
“These pieces, he already realised, were merely stepping stones at the start of a journey towards something - some grand artefact, either musical, or literary, or filmic, or perhaps a combination of all three - towards which he knew he was advancing, slowly but with a steady, inexorable tread. Something which would enshrine his feelings for Cicely, and which she would perhaps hear, or read, or see in ten or twenty years' time, and suddenly realize, on her pulse, that it was created for her, intended for her, and that of all the boys who had swarmed around her like so many drones at school, Benjamin had been, without her having the wit to notice it, by far the purest in heart, by far the most gifted and giving. On that day the awareness of all she had missed, all she had lost, would finally break upon her in an instant, and she would weep; weep for her foolishness, and of the love that might have been between them.

Of course, Benjamin could always just have spoken to her, gone up to her in the bus queue and asked her for a date. But this seemed to him, on the whole, the more satisfactory approach.”
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