‚Middle England‘ (2018)
by Jonathan Coe
Maria, Sandra and Andrew discuss the novel.
„Beginning in 2010, on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, ‚Middle England‘ follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of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 socio-political change till 2018.
There are newly weds Sophie and Ian, who disagree about the future of the country and, possibly, the future of their relationship.; Doug, the political commentator who writes impassioned columns about Tory austerity from his Chelsea townhouse, and his radical teenage daughter Coriander, 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 whose gargantual novel ends up being pruned right back; his 82-year-old father, Colin, a former Longbridge employee, whose last wish is to vote in the 2016 European Referendum. Within all these lives is the story of modern England: a story of nostalgia and delusion, of bewilderment and barely suppressed rage.“
We discuss critically the socio-political Zeitgeist, with such themes as social class conflict, sexist discrimination, latent racism, and ‚huge microaggression‘. Is the ‚English disease‘ subtlety or anger?
We pick up references to Brexit, Johnson, Corbyn and Trump. We quote examples of ironic humour, caricature and even satire.
- Mike Oldfield: ‚Tubular Bells‘
- Amy Winehouse: ‚Back to Black‘
- Parry/ Blake: ‚Jerusalem‘
- Vaughan Williams: ‚The Lark Ascending‘