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Number 11: Book summary and reviews of Number 11 by Jonathan Coe

Number 11

by Jonathan Coe

Number 11 by Jonathan Coe X
Number 11 by Jonathan Coe
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2017
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

The long-awaited sequel to The Winshaw Legacy, the 1995 novel that introduced American readers to one of Britain's most exciting new writers - an acerbic, hilariously dark, and unflinching portrait of modern society.

The novel opens in the early aughts: two ten-year-olds, Alison and Rachel, have a frightening encounter with the "Mad Bird Woman" who lives down the road. As the narrative progresses through time, the novel envelops others who are connected to the girls: Alison's mother, a has-been singer, competing on a hit reality TV show; Rachel's university mentor confronting her late husband's disastrously obsessive search for a German film he saw as a child; a young police constable investigating the seemingly accidental and unrelated deaths of two stand-up comedians; the ludicrously wealthy family who hire Rachel as a nanny - under whose immense London mansion Rachel will discover a dark and terrifying secret.

Psychological insight, social commentary, vicious satire, and even surrealist horror are combined in this highly accomplished work to hold up a revealing, disquieting mirror to the world we live in today.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Coe succeeds in bringing together the many threads woven through this darkly comic novel with political and economic undercurrents and one big, hairy spider. A very pleasurable read." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. This powerful and enthralling novel takes the measure of a society feeding on its members as little contemporary fiction has." - Kirkus

"The disparate plots draw near one another but never fully meet in action or in theme; nevertheless, this is still an entertaining satire." - Publishers Weekly

"Coe's meta-awareness and knowing winks invite the reader to play along in this allusion-rich (from Jonathan Swift to Radiohead), thoroughly enjoyable balm to the current political climate. For fans of Evelyn Waugh and Martin Amis." - Booklist

"Coe is back doing what he does best. Number 11 is a baroquely plotted, densely allusive, heart-on-his-sleeve, state-of-the-nation satire, an angry and exuberant book...Coe is not just back, but back on top form." - Sunday Times (UK)

"You can't stop reading...I was haunted for days." -The Independent

Coe's prose is always a delight...hugely enjoyable." - Daily Mail (UK)

"Jonathan Coe has established himself as one of the most entertaining chroniclers of our times... He has an enviable lightness of touch and is brilliant at portraying the lunacy of our time, when bankers need iceberg houses and their neighbours need food banks. He is often satirical, always compassionate." - Tatler (UK)

"He brings us the usual high quotient of jokes, emotional engagement with the characters and commitment to old-school storytelling, complete with narrative twists and thrilling set pieces. - The Daily Telegraph (UK)

"No modern novelist is better at charting the precariousness of middle-class life. - The Observer (UK)

"Coe creeps up stealthily, delivering a book bursting with narrative coups and delicious ironies. Presenting a picture of an ailing country close to collapse, despite the apparent health suggested by its millionaires' mansions and its confidently callous politicians, the book scares rather than laughs us into calling for reform." - Literary Review (UK)

"Coe intriguingly depicts the social grievances of modern Britain." - Metro (UK)

"It's dispiriting that, for a country that prides itself on its sense of humour, Coe has not been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize...Read Number 11 to see what an odd country Britain has become." - T2 (UK)

"[Coe] has a fine ear for dialogue and mastery of comic plot: this is first-class entertainment." - Evening Standard (UK)

"The country needs Number 11...[Coe's] take-down of modern Britain proves he's still the UK's premiere national lampoon." - Stylist (UK)

"Number 11 is undoubtedly a political novel. It is also an interrogation of the purposes and efficacy of humour in exposing society's ills." - The Guardian (UK)

"A richly enjoyable, densely textured and thought-provoking entertainment, Number 11 might not feature in many Kensington mansions, Swiss bolt-holes or private jets this winter. But perhaps it should." - Financial Times (UK)

"What Victorians called 'a condition of England' novel...This sequel is a very good book indeed - let's hope that Coe goes for a trilogy." - The Times (UK)

The information about Number 11 shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Jonathan Coe Author Biography

Copyright Viking Publishing.

Jonathan Coe was born on 19 August 1961 in Lickey, a suburb of south-west Birmingham. His father worked in the motor industry as a research physicist; his mother was a music and PE teacher.

His works include: The Accidental Woman, What a Carve Up!,The House of Sleep, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim.

Among Jonathan's awards are the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for What a Carve Up! in 1995, the Prix Médicis Étranger for The House of Sleep in 1998, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for The Rotters' Club in 2001, and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Like a Fiery Elephant in 2005. In 2004 he was made Chevalier l'Ordre des Arts and des Lettres.

Jonathan lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

... Full Biography
Link to Jonathan Coe's Website

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