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England, England

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,627 Ratings  ·  229 Reviews
Booker Prize Finalist

"Wickedly funny." --The New York Times

Imagine an England where all the pubs are quaint,where the Windsors behave themselves (mostly), where the cliffs of Dover are actually white, and where Robin Hood and his merry men really are merry.This is precisely what visionary tycoon, Sir Jack Pitman, seeks to accomplish on the Isle of Wight, a "destination" wh
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 11th 2000 by Vintage (first published August 27th 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Teresa
Apr 03, 2013 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first work by Barnes I've given less than 4 stars, though I thought the first section detailing Martha's childhood and formation of character was great. Then the book went downhill for me, as another character, Sir Jack, took center stage in the second, and longest, section.

I have no problem at all with unlikable characters (I don't need to like a character to enjoy a work), but so many times when readers say they dislike books because there are no "likable" characters, I wonder if
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Christina Beeler
Apr 24, 2011 Christina Beeler rated it it was ok
Okay, let me start by saying that Julian Barnes is obviously very intelligent. He is witty and intelligent and well-read. BUT this book is obnoxious. It's not the worst book I've ever read by any means....it is smart and funny in parts and he has a point but the language is pretentious and showy. You have to have an English degree to get through this book (which I am in the process of obtaining). Overall, it is inaccessible. So if his point is that we prefer simulacra over the original and socie ...more
Praiz Sophyronja
Considering the fact that I'm being forced to read this for my super dull post-colonialism unit for college, I have reluctantly grown to enjoy it. But of course, I will never admit it to my professor.
Tony
Jun 07, 2011 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
This book is in three parts.

In Part I, England, a young girl absorbs the leaving of her father. She had a puzzle of the map of England. Her father would hide one piece: Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Carmarthen, Pembrokeshire. And when her puzzle was done except for that one piece, HE would magically find it. Nottinghamshire was missing when HE went missing too. All of Julian Barnes' brilliance is here. And this brief opening will break your heart.

In Part II, England, England, Martha Cochrane, that
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Andreea
Apr 02, 2011 Andreea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Now that I've read Flaubert's Parrot and A History of the World in 10 1 2 Chapters - both incredibly clever and wonderful books, I like this novel even less than I did when I read it as my first Julian Barnes a few years ago. Everything I remember about it is cringe-worthy, though I must admit I don't really remember that much - a lot of gratuitous badly written sex and something about Englishness, American tourists and culture as entertainment. It's just bizarre and somehow spiteful coming from ...more
Daniel Solera
Jun 02, 2011 Daniel Solera rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I ran out of books to read at home, so I went to my college stack in hopes of finding something interesting. This book was given to me by a professor during office hours - I don't remember who it was, or why she decided that I would enjoy it, but I ended up not reading it and apparently not returning it. My bad.

The premise of this novel is strange. It centers around a powerful businessman's idea to create an "ideal" England on an island as a tourist attraction, showcasing all the hallmarks of "t
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Cat
May 08, 2014 Cat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
This is more a 2.5-star rating than a 3-star one, and that is due to Mr. Barnes' writting. Because the story failed to compel me into reading it and made me feel really disappointed (a first-time thing with Mr. Barnes).

It took me more than two weeks to read this rather small book (what are 266 pages, right?), which is always a bad sign. Sure, I started working in the mean time, but that is not a good excuse in this case. The fact is that I dind't feel like reading even when I could.

I found Engla
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Jordan Catapano
Dec 28, 2008 Jordan Catapano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julian Barnes presents a witty yet tantalizingly frightening vision of te commodifying of culture and the jump into the chasm of hyperreality. Ripe is Baudrillardian examples of "the substitution becoming the reality," England, England provides an enjoyable excursion into the future. The story employs an artfully balanced cast of characters, provocative discourse on history, memory, culture, and the implications of each for our future. I enjoyed Barnes's witty dialogue as well as his depiction o ...more
Ron Charles
Jan 02, 2014 Ron Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the disturbing tradition of Orwell's "1984" and Huxley's "Brave New World," fellow English writer Julian Barnes has produced the first classic dystopia of the 21st century.

"England, England" is an unsettling satire of corporate ambition gone wild in a culture that values convenience above all else.

Sir Jack Pitman thinks big. He rules his financial empire from a worldly cathedral of the most extravagant design. Subjects coming for an audience pass first through the Quote Room, where they can r
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Louize
Nov 24, 2012 Louize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Same thoughts from The Page Walker


LIFE IS A THEME PARK

thoughts on England England by Julian Barnes

I seemed to be jumping from one satirical novel to another this month. Maybe because there is something in English humour that freshen up my taste buds or washes away my reading hangover. Not that all English novels are satirical, but almost all the good ones are in my opinion.
“Pounds being the real thing, and dollars the replica, but after a while the real thing becomes the replica?”

The book is div
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Val
Aug 09, 2013 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Julian Barnes' wonderful, funny, prescient novel the protagonist knows what tourists want to see when they come to England and he shows it to them, all arranged and neatly packaged, and completely artificial. This is Barnes, so you know that when you have finished laughing you will start thinking.
The Booker jury didn't do enough thinking before they moved on to the next book.
This book examines the idea of cultural identity and how truthful it is, much of what we see as true and historical is
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Nina
Sep 01, 2007 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles looking for a reality check
Shelves: comic-satirical
Satirical novel on reality vs artifice, history vs the commercial, and what it means to be English; with overtones of science fiction. Some really beautiful parts, some hysterically funny parts, and some overly schematic parts - not sure it all hung together, and does hit you over the head a bit with its themes.

Words/ideas I have learned from this book:
Hansard
eau-de-nil
Brancusi
Murano chandelier
MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club); Garrick Club
Sir Francis Drake was a pirate (privateer)
Mitteleuropäische
e
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Kavita Ramesh
I didn't get the plot at all. =P
*still scratching head*

But it was well written.
Frank
Jul 05, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it
It's been a very long time since I read a full novel in one sitting, and this almost qualifies. I'd started it on the bus ride home Tuesday afternoon, but spent my Independence Day in glorious languor: reading, sunning, swimming, reading, napping, reading...and late into the night.

I very much enjoyed Julian Barnes' Booker-winning novel The Sense of an Ending last year so when I noticed this on the self I picked it up with no preconceptions as to plot or character, etc. What a delightful discover
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Rob
Nov 17, 2013 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly entertaining stuff from Barnes as he depicts a seedy businessman's attempt to recreate a mini-England on the Isle of Wight. The comic overtones are well maintained but there is also some depth of feeling - a twenty five page preface dealing with the early life of one of the characters is beautifully written and very moving.

Dramatic events ensue including a rebellion led by Robin Hood, the defection of the Royal family to the island for cash and the shooting down of a tabloid's drone - it'
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Kristen
Apr 17, 2013 Kristen rated it really liked it
I really liked this book once it got to its actual premise: the creation of a theme park that imitates England; but it was slow in getting there in my opinion. Still, the best part of the book was how the imitative English actors would assume the personalities of their historical characters: Dr. Johnson becomes a manic depressive, Robin Hood's gang turns into a real group of outlaws. All of that was very amusing, but there should have been more of it and less of the pre-Island narrative.
Karin
****note that I am not a fan of satire as a rule, even though I understand it, so this greatly affects my rating and dislike of this novel***

England, England contains a novel within a novel. Enclosed within the story of Martha Cochrane , is the satirical story of the development of England, England, a historical theme park thought of and spearheaded by Sir Jack Pitman. Throughout this book playes with the idea of memory and history, what it is and isn’t, how people perceive it, and of course the
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Laila A
What the hell did I just read?

I appreciate the post-modernism which echoes everywhere in the book and on so many "levels", but what the fuck did I just read?
Elizabeth
I gave this a third star just at the last minute. I loved the beginning, describing the childhood of the heroine. Then she reached sexual maturity the C*** word was used and Mr. Barnes lost me. I just finished reading Franzen's Purity which had loads of crude sex in it and I just felt "Oh no not again". One very strange sexual incident in England, England was necessary to the plot but the rest of it .. I just didnt understand why sex had to be described in such a horrible way..it senough to make ...more
David
Apr 21, 2009 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-white-square
Hated the ending. My least favourite Julian Barnes by a long way.
Stela
Imaginati-va ca istoria isi pierde dimensiunea temporala si ramine exclusiv spatiala, in sensul ca epoci, evenimente, personaje pot fi vazute simultan intr-un spatiu relativ restrins, mica insula Wight, care reuneste chintesenta Angliei... turistice. Robin Hood, parlamentul, regele, pirati, tarani etc. apar in fata turistului, nu ca intr-o parada de costume ci ca si cind ar trai firesc acolo. aceasta e lumea construita de Sir Jack Pitman, a carui ambitie este sa creeze o Anglie mai interesanta d ...more
Anmiryam
Dec 01, 2011 Anmiryam rated it really liked it
This is very different Barnes from his Booker winning "The Sense of an Ending." "England, England" is an erudite and biting satire that challenges the reader ultimately, to question of identity and formation of self. Which is more "real", England as we know it or the faux tourist destination of "England, England" founded by Sir Jack Pitman and the corporate designers of Pitco? You have to think Barnes had a blast thinking up the details of his imagined tourist heaven/hell. I certainly laughed at ...more
Kate
May 30, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Going by the jacket copy, you'd think this was about nothing more than a megalomaniac's re-creation of England on the Isle of Wight. Hey, that could be plenty! But Julian Barnes delivers something much more complex and nuanced. The reinvention of the IoW as a leisure-time delivery system for quintessential England becomes the center of a thoughtful, viciously funny exploration of authenticity and reality.

(Caveat: It's viciously funny if you're an Anglophile. I'm not sure any reader who doesn't
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Ed
Aug 16, 2013 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Booker Prize finalist. Brilliant satire.
The world's richest man buys the Isle of Wight - or, rather,through a legal loophole makes it an independent nation - and creates a "quality leisure" experience: a theme park England that contains all the wonders of the real England in a smaller, sanitized, tightly-run space. The real England, in this dystopian vision, crumbles and falls apart because of the competition. But more, this book is a look at authenticity vs replication, a discussion of what it
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Georgesear
Aug 07, 2012 Georgesear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved The Sense of an Ending and yet I love this book more. Jack Pitman, a man who employs an "Idea Catcher" so that nothing he utters will not go down in history, decides on one last great idea to leave to the world. On a certain diamond-shaped, to remain unnamed, island off the Hampshire coast of England, Sir Jack recreates all of Olde England's greatest sights: Stonehenge, the Tower of London, the Sherwood Forest, Big Ben, even Wordsworth's daffodils. An absurd premise, but what follows is ...more
Mark
Feb 25, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My first taste of Julian Barnes. A very good writer, with a real gift for satire and edgy social commentary. I'm not sure the book knocked its theme out of the park, but it was dead-on in its lampooning of greedy businessmen and the worst of tourism. In the book, a Donald Trump style English tycoon sets out to create a theme park that will feature the best of English history and historical characters -- a place so appealing that tourists will prefer it to the real thing. Barnes uses this pretens ...more
Jeanette
Dec 07, 2011 Jeanette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-brits
I wanted so much to love this book. The idea is brilliant: a mad businessman creates a compacted, replica England on the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately, I didn't find England, England enjoyable to read. I wasn't attached to any of the characters and found my mind wandering more often than not. Some of the themes explored are really interesting - such as reality vs. replica, truth vs. fiction. I just think they could have been verbalized in a better, more articulate and less pretentious way. As I n ...more
Ron
Apr 28, 2015 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book whose title mislead me into it. I expected that this would be non-fiction, Barnes's critique of modern British culture, a regretful consideration of what England has sunk to nowadays. Well, it did indeed convey such a vision, but it did so as a novel. A richer than he has any right to be Brit carries out his fantastical idea of buying the Isle of Wight and turning it into a theme park style facsimile of English history. The premise is the post-modern conceit that people much prefer ...more
Roberta
Mar 24, 2015 Roberta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audrey
Jan 21, 2015 Audrey rated it liked it
England, England reminds me of a phrase my brother is fond of saying on vacation while various family members take pictures of notable tourist attractions: "You can see that picture on the Internet." It's almost become a family joke now, that one can experience an attraction such as the Empire State Building or Big Ben by going to Google; in other words, a representation of the original is as good as the real thing.

England, England tells of what happens to a man and his corporation who try to do
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Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer of postmodernism in literature. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize--- Flaubert's Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005), and won the prize for The Sense of an Ending (2011). He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

Following an education at the City of London School
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“Memories of childhood were the dreams that stayed with you after you woke.” 57 likes
“Most people, in my opinion, steal much of what they are. If they didn't what poor items they would be.” 15 likes
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