29 November 2018, The Tablet

This septic isle


Middle England
(VIKING, 432 PP, £16.99)
Tablet Bookshop price £15.30 • tel 020 7799 4064

Jonathan Coe made his name with What A Carve Up!, a gothic state-of-the-nation novel that took the Thatcher settlement to violent comic task. A quarter of a century on, Coe is taking the country’s temperature again – and finding it hot with anger and cold with fear. No prizes for guessing that a book called Middle England isolates Brexit as our national disease. Prizes aplenty, though, for summarising its drift. Middle England, many of whose characters we first met in Coe’s The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle, is more densely populated than London. There’s Ben Trotter who, sickened by the Smoke’s hyper-capitalism, has skipped town for an old mill on the River Severn, the better to look after his newly nationalistic dad, Colin.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £21.50 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login