Middle England

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Costa Best Novel Award 2019 Winner.

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Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense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.

Middle England is read by Rory Kinnear.

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.

©2018 Jonathan Coe (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critics Review

  • Brilliantly funny . . . a compelling state of the nation novel, full of light and shade, which vividly charts modern Britain’s tragicomic slide

    Economist
  • Expansive and often very funny . . . Coe – a writer of uncommon decency – reminds us that the way out of this mess is through moderation, through compromise, through that age-old English ability to laugh at ourselves

    Observer
  • A pertinent, entertaining study of a nation in crisis

    Financial Times
  • His affectionately witty attitude to our human foibles is always uplifting . . . Superb

    The Times
  • In Middle England, Coe shows an understanding of this country that goes beyond what most cabinet ministers can muster . . . he subtly builds a picture that exposes the cracks in society . . . he is a master of satire but pokes fun subtly, without ever being cruel, biting or blatant . . . his light, funny writing makes you feel better

    Evening Standard
  • Tackling his characters’ opposing points of view, he draws a portrait of a recognisable Britain baffled by its loss of industry and jobs, and of everyday people shocked by a rise of acceptable racism and xenophobia. It’s also very, very funny

    Stylist

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