BookBrowse Reviews The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe

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The Closed Circle

by Jonathan Coe

The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe X
The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2006, 384 pages

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A compelling, dramatic and often funny depiction of the way we live now. Novel

From the book jacket: The characters of The Rotters' Club (2001), Jonathan Coe's nostalgic, humorous evocation of adolescent life in the 1970s, have bartered their innocence for the vengeance of middle age in a story that is very much of the moment, charged with such issues as 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. As Cool Britannia is forced to address its ongoing racial and social tensions — and as its role in America's "war on terrorism" grows increasingly compromised - The Closed Circle shuttles between London and Birmingham, where fat cats, politicos, media advisers, and protesters in both locales lay bare an era when policy and PR have become indistinguishable. Meanwhile, its rich cast of characters contends with startling revelations about their youth and the pressing, perennial problems of love, vocation, and family.

Comment:  Jumping forward 3 decades, Coe revisits the cast of his 2001 novel, The Rotters Club, all grown up.  Life has been pretty good to a few of them, such as Paul Trotter, now a member of Blair's "New Labour" Party, but others have not done so well and some still carry the angst of their teen years. As before, Coe explores the connections and conflicts between individual decisions and society as a whole.  

"... a compelling, dramatic and often funny depiction of the way we live now - both savage and heartfelt at the same time." - PW

"[The Closed Circle] has an up-to-the minute topicality that most writers shy away from, but it allows Coe to hone in savagely on his bêtes noires . . . Coe has succeeded in accomplishing that rare feat: a pair of novels that combine the addictive quality of the best soap operas with a basic cultural integrity." - The Independent.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in July 2005, and has been updated for the June 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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