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Middle England

(Rotters' Club #3)

by
4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,425 ratings  ·  249 reviews
Set in the Midlands and London over the last eight years, Jonathan Coe follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change and disruption in Britain. There are the early married years of Sophie and Ian who disagree about the future of Britain and, possibly, the future of their relationship; Sophie's grandfather whose final act is to send a posta ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 8th 2018 by Viking
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Pamela I started reading this without knowing it was part of a trilogy, and it does certainly work as a stand alone, but once I had finished I couldn't wait…moreI started reading this without knowing it was part of a trilogy, and it does certainly work as a stand alone, but once I had finished I couldn't wait to read the other books in the series. The book perfectly captures the last few years of England's social and political history with astute perception and great humour. Can't recommend it enough.(less)

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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,425 ratings  ·  249 reviews


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Paromjit
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jonathan Coe continues on themes that have been his natural areas of interest, this time he acutely observes the painfully divisive and depressing state of the nation since 2010 and Brexit through previous characters he once again resurrects along with the creation of new ones. Cameron as Prime Minister breaks Britain apart with his partner in crime, Osborne, inflicting an austerity on the poor and middle class whilst those who created the economic crisis, the bankers, walk away with impunity. C ...more
Blair
Middle England revisits characters from Coe’s earlier novels The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle – I suppose the three books could be said to form a loose trilogy – and follows them from 2010 to the present day. Their experiences are juxtaposed with a wealth of political developments and newsworthy events: the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, Amy Winehouse’s death, the London riots, the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, the run-up to the EU referendum, Victoria Wood’s death, the murder of J ...more
Roman Clodia
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set between the general election of 2010 that ushered in the coalition government and September 2018, this is a 'state of the nation' novel that tells the story of our times. Anyone who voted Leave may want to approach this with caution and have the blood pressure tablets handy; the rest of us can relive the tumultuous events of the last 8 years from the riots to Jo Cox, from the Olympics to the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn, and all the hideous hatred and vitriolic rhetoric that Brexit has legitim ...more
Evi *
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Middle England é un romanzo che si nutre di attualità e che misura la temperatura elevata che in questo momento si percepisce in Gran Bretagna.
Coe fa, prima, una cavalcata di qualche decennio attraverso alcuni eventi sociali e politici, nevralgici per il Regno Unito.
Tra gli altri le Olimpiadi di Londra del 2012, decise in una generale iniziale indifferenza diverranno, in un crescendo di partecipazione collettiva e di affermazione dell’orgoglio nazionale, una occasione di coesione del paese (para
...more
Marina
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are only a few books which I’ve read more than once. Pride and Prejudice is one of them; Brave New World another. And in this rare group you’ll also find Jonathan Coe’s What a Carve Up!
Sadly, his latest book, Middle England, will not be joining my fiction hall of fame. It seems Coe was asked to write a book about Brexit and that’s what he did. He resurrected his characters from The Rotters' Club (another great novel) and put them into Britain’s turbulent 21st C political landscape. And ye
...more
Anni
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Jonathan Coe has been one of our foremost British exponents of the ‘state of the nation’ genre, with a series of novels following a group of friends throughout their formative years, starting from their schooldays in 2001 with The Rotters Club. His current novel covers eight years from 2010 and includes many memorable news references:- Gordon Brown’s faux pas about the ‘bigoted’ woman, Ed Miliband’s bacon sandwich, the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, and his main topic here - the political fault ...more
Bettie☯
Penguin Books (UK)

Description: Set in the Midlands and London over the last eight years, Jonathan Coe follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change and disruption in Britain. There are the early married years of Sophie and Ian who disagree about the future of Britain and, possibly, the future of their relationship; Sophie's grandfather whose final act is to send a postal vote for the European referendum; Doug, the political commentator, whose young daughter desp
...more
Gattalucy
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di Coe avevo letto solo La famiglia Winshaw che mi era piaciuto molto. Speravo con questo suo ultimo libro di capire qualcosa sulla Brexit. Sapevo che aveva ripreso i protagonisti di altri suoi romanzi ( “La banda dei brocchi” – “Circolo chiuso”) che non conoscevo, eppure non ho faticato a prendere confidenza con loro, ma la parte miglior resta il suo tentativo di spiegare, a se stesso mi è sembrato, più che al lettore, come diavolo gli Inglesi siano arrivati a questa scelta.
Per far questo imme
...more
Laura Gotti
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A questo libro avrei dato anche 50 stelle. Per tantissimi motivi, forse non tutti condivisibili, ma assolutamente miei. Per iniziare direi che Coe è sempre una garanzia di un determinato tipo di libri e per estimatori dell'Inghilterra a prescindere. Quando iniziai a leggere la banda dei brocchi, intanto ero giovane, e poi avevo Manchester e il mio Erasmus così dentro di me che sentire raccontare qualsiasi cosa di una banda di giovanotti inglese mi faceva battere il cuore. Poi, con gli anni, recu ...more
Ubik 2.0
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Siamo fottuti!”

Parte in sordina questo romanzo, nel tentativo di riannodare vicende e personaggi di “La banda dei brocchi” e “Circolo chiuso”, che molto contribuirono alla popolarità di Jonathan Coe ma che risalgono ormai a una quindicina di anni fa. Non è facile e immediato il recupero nella memoria dei tipi e dei caratteri di allora e l’agile scrittura di Coe appare oggi più frammentaria e incline al luogo comune; forse si viene condizionati anche dal ricordo più recente delle ultime prove me
...more
Sarah
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
3.5 rounded up

I came to Middle England not realising it was part of a series, and this probably impacted slightly on my enjoyment of it. However it is still an enjoyable story chronicling a period of great change in modern Britain.

The story covers the period between April 2010 and September 2018, and we (well, the characters) relive many of the major events throughout this period - the Coalition government, the London riots, the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, Jo Cox's murder, the Referendum, and
...more
Jonathan Pool
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I gather that this is the third part of a series of books written by Jonathan Coe, over several years. The same characters populate the stories. Does this matter? I don’t think so. If you had not told me that there were prequels, I would not have guessed it.
I read Middle England during the week in which the UK parliamentary vote for the Brexit agreement (scheduled to come into force on 29 March 2019). (it was postponed at the eleventh hour).
The “Brexit” ruminations in Middle England were thoug
...more
Mircalla64
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
"e allora il PD?" english version

Coe riprende i protagonisti di "La banda dei brocchi" e di "Circolo chiuso" per raccontare il periodo della Brexit e i retroscena che solo gli inglesi conoscono, il procedimento è quello a cui ci ha già abituati nei precedenti libri su Margaret Thatcher e su Tony Blair, parte dai personaggi per raccontare l'impatto sulle loro vite della sciagurata politica inglese, salvo poi mostrare deliziosi siparietti in cui ci spiega bene come sia potuto accadere che cose com
...more
Three
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muore giovane chi è caro agli dei, dicevano i Greci.
Fortunatamente, Jonathan Coe non è stato così caro agli dei da indurli a volerselo prendere tutto, per tenerlo con sé per l’eternità. Coe non è morto giovane e io gli auguro di morire vecchissimo, ultracentenario.
Ma agli dei deve essere stata molto cara quella sua fantasia sfrenata, fuori da ogni logica, capace di fargli inventare situazioni assurde in cui si muovono personaggi umanissimi. Quella che gli ha permesso di scrivere La famiglia Wins
...more
Stephen
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for a free copy in return for an open and honest review.

This novel is mainly set in the western midlands and timescale is events leading up to the brexit vote and afterwards through different relationships. The author uses characters from both sides remain/leave and left/right. You can feel as though you are part of this even though its still fresh in the mind.
MJ Nicholls
Senryu Review:

The Brexit zeitgeist:
Coe’s mild pageturning prose screams
“Sky adaptation!”
Antonio Parrilla
“Middle England” di Jonathan Coe.
In una sola parola: capolavoro. Come I grandi classici, Coe usa la sua scrittura per catturare lo spirito del momento e restituire al lettore un quadro quanto più esatto possibile della Gran Bretagna della Brexit.
Un po’ spiazzante nella parte iniziale, quando il lettore non ha ancora capito che i protagonisti del romanzo altro non sono, in realtà, che gli spettatori di uno show, a suo modo tragico, le cui premesse non avevano colto in tempo, il libro dispiega tu
...more
SueLucie
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Since I’ve spent the last four years as a welcomed guest in the Netherlands, this distillation of the major events of the decade in the UK (just England really as the title suggests) came along at just the right time for me and I would guess many others of us living across the channel, looking on aghast at the chaos at home and considering our future. Interesting that the upbeat ending should lean so heavily towards Europe.

I have enjoyed Jonathan Coe’s writing over the years, but haven’t read ‘
...more
Rebecca
Dec 05, 2018 marked it as unfinished
In 2015 I very much enjoyed Number 11, Coe’s state-of-the-nation novel about wealth, celebrity and suspicion in contemporary England. Middle England uses roughly the same format, of multiple linked characters and story lines, and seems to makes many of the same points, too. However, by embedding his book so completely in 2011–18 history, he limits its fictional possibilities. I often wonder how the history books will look back on recent events (Brexit, Trump), but revisiting them in fiction feel ...more
Alan
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Enjoyed this novel which traces the UK's political development from the 2010 election to (almost) present, through the eyes of the characters from the The Rotters' Club (read) and its sequel The Closed Circle (not read). It was interesting to see the arc of UK history from austerity, the 2011 riots, the Olympics (2012), to the divisions and impasse of Brexit. And how little moments have made such a difference, eg did Labour lose in 2010 because of Brown's 'bigot' remark about the woman who asked ...more
Annalisa
Una lettura rapida e piacevole; un racconto ben congegnato di vicende che si dipanano in un arco di circa otto anni nell’Inghilterra della contemporaneità, attraversata, come tutta l’Europa, da contraddizioni, rigurgiti di malessere, opportunismi, egoismi e chiusure; personaggi non memorabili ma umani, con i quali non è difficile entrare in empatia. Manca un po’ l’ironia graffiante di altri romanzi di Coe e solo per questo non mi spingo oltre le tre ***.
Sid Nuncius
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed much of Jonathan Coe’s previous work and he writes as well as ever here, but overall I struggled with Middle England.

Having dealt with wealth, poverty and finance in modern Britain in Number 11, Coe’s latest state-of-the-nation novel takes us through the politics of the last eight years from the 2010 General Election to the political earthquakes in 2016 and beyond. As ever, he writes beautifully and readably and creates convincing, if slightly exaggerated, characters. The trouble
...more
Mandy
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
In his latest novel Coe takes the characters from The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle and subjects them to the turmoil of the Referendum and Brexit. He does this with his usual keen and observant eye, but disappointingly chooses to do so with an unrelenting series of set-pieces, which, whilst often entertaining in themselves, avoid nuance and insight and offer little to the political debate. His potentially interesting characters are not explored in any depth and none of them mature or chang ...more
Sam
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A new book by Jonathan Coe is like greeting an old friend. His books have the capacity to move me like few others. Middle England is his Brexit novel but is so much more than that. It examines the conditions that led up to it, taking in ‘political correctness gone mad’, ‘people like you', and why we never saw it coming.
Some of the characters return from The Rotters Club, and The Closed Circle although this reads as a stand alone novel perfectly. Coe shows us how we were encouraged to be dissatis
...more
Richard
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jonathan Cole is angry about how Britain has changed, overall since 1979 but specifically in the last 8 years for this novel. He is angry about the rise in anger, hatred and division that has increased in Britain. Reviving characters first seen in The Rotters Club he intertwines actual events with fictional ones to take their story right to the present day. It is a funny thought provoking and entertaining read; though maybe less so if you voted leave.
Lisa Bywell
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Obviously 5 stars. The man is a genius!!
Max Nemtsov
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edited
прекрасный уютный Коу для любителей Гэлзуорти и вот этих вот долгих семейных саг. а по повестке дня больше всего напоминает, конечно же, "Краткую историю тракторов по-украински" Марины Левицкой (это вообще была ее тема, мультипультикультурализм). впрочем, плотность культурных отсылок у Коу не в пример выше, так что эта небольшая романная соната (ибо по структуре это она и есть) вполне может читаться не только как продолжение более ранней дилогии, но и как головоломка (Толкина-то там каждый дурак ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love a book that attempts to take the pulse of a nation. This is perfect post-Brexit reading and a wonderful multi-voice narrative though there were a couple of characters I preferred over others.
Kate Vane
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’ve had mixed responses to Jonathan Coe novels over the years. I loved The Rotters’ Club and What a Carve Up!, I thought The Closed Circle (follow up to The Rotters’ Club) and House of Sleep were okay, and I’ve started one or two others that I couldn’t get through at all.

Middle England picks up the story of the protagonists of The Rotters’ Club in 2010 and follows their stories up to and after the Brexit referendum. It doesn’t have a conventional narrative arc, it’s more a series of vignettes s
...more
Bridget Simpson
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it 😊
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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
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Other books in the series

Rotters' Club (3 books)
  • The Rotters' Club
  • The Closed Circle (Rotters' Club, #2)
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“Benjamin had not dared, yet, to enquire about sales figures; as for the book's critical reception, it was non-existent. No reviews in either the national or local papers, of course, nothing on the various readers' websites and no reader reviews on Amazon - where it had a sales raking of 743,926 (or, if he wanted to cheer himself up, 493 in Bestsellers>Fiction>Literary Fiction>Autobiographical Fiction>Romance>Obsession).” 0 likes
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