Set against the backdrop of the Millenium celebrations and Britain's increasingly compromised role in America's war against terrorism', The Closed Circle lifts the lid on an era in which politics and presentation, ideology and the media have become virtually indistinguishable. Darkly comic, hugely engaging, and compulsively readable, it is the much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Coe's bestselling novel The Rotters' Club, and reintroduces us to the characters first encountered in that book. But whereas The Rotters' Club was a novel of innocence, The Closed Circle is its opposite: a novel of experience.
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"With boundless energy and a cheerful capaciousness . . . Coe gives us a meditation on the consequences of terrorism, an examination of the post-9/11 political zeitgeist, a satire of everything from book reviewers to modern parenting, and a contemporary version of Anthony Powell's sprawling masterpiece, "A Dance to the Music of Time." --Elizabeth Judd, "The Atlantic Monthly ""The Rotters' Club (2002), Coe's witty novel of teenage schoolmates growing up in 1970s Birmingham, England, introduced an expansive cast of characters. With echoes of Anthony Trollope and Anthony Powell, this wonderful, compulsively readable sequel explores the adults those young people became--it opens in 1999 and closes in 2003--and paints a satirical but moving portrait of life at the turn of the century. Coe cleverly works real events into the plot--London's Millennium Eve, the possible shutdown of a British auto manufacturer, the war in Iraq. The theme, as in "The Rotters' Club, concerns the conflicts and connections between individual decisions and societal events, but while Coe's political sensibility is readily apparent, this novel, with its incredibly well developed characters and its immensely engaging narrative, is no polemical tract. It's a compelling, dramatic and often funny depiction of the way we live now--both savage and heartfelt at the same time." --"Publishers Weekly, starred review "[With] often-biting cultural commentary on, for example, cell phones and SUV's . . . Coe's narrative voice is pleasingly intimate, as though he were inviting his readers into the 'closed circle' referenced in the title, urging them to lean close and then closer." --Joanne Wilkinson, "Booklist "Highlyrecommended . . . This politically inspired sequal may be read and enjoyed independently, but fans of the earlier novel will be rewarded by the welcome return of an engaging cast of characters and the resoluation of outstanding mysteries." --Barbara Love, "Library Journal "The sharp eye for the socioeconomic landscape that distinguished Coe's previous outing is also quickly evident here . . . But the real point here is Coe's acid, bitingly funny portrait of early-21st century Britain, where the cradle-to-grave welfare state has been abandoned as 'a now comically outdated democratic ideal' and cab drivers knowledgably discuss varieties of wine . . . A pleasing, modern-day addition to the venerable lineage of the English social novel, easily the equal of Trollope or Galsworthy." --"Kirkus "A richly comic, entertaining novel . . . "The Closed Circle is a masterly portrayal of our ruling classes [and] a fine comedy with a disturbing undertow of menace." --Sebastian Shakespeare, "Literary Review ""The Closed Cirlce is terrific . . . Coe creates an incisive portrait of Britain at the turn of the century, with the private shenanigans of these characters set against the turn of real events: Millennieum Eve, the threatened closure of the Longbridge car factory, 11 September, war with Iraq, and even Nigella Lawson licking her fingers on TV." --Olivia Glazebrook, "Spectator "["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 "betes 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 culturalintegrity." --Richard Mason, "The Independent "From the Hardcover edition.About the Author:
Jonathan Coe was born in Birmingham in 1961. He has published seven novels, all of which are available in Penguin: The Accidental Woman, A Touch of Love, The Dwarves of Death, What a Carve Up!, which won the 1995 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The House of Sleep, which won the 1998 Prix Medicis Etranger, The Rotter's Club, winner of the Everyman Wodehouse Prize and The Closed Circle. He has also published a biography of the novelist B.S. Johnson, which won the Orwell prize in 2005. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
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