Sunday, July 8, 2007

Coe Cravings...

Those who know me, know that Jonathan Coe is one of my favourite contemporary writers and certainly the one that I am constantly urging people to read. So even the anticipation of a new Jonathan Coe novel gets me all giddy. We will have his new novel The Rain Before It Falls next March and I can't wait. I may have to start a count-down calendar. In the meantime I will have to settle for this great interview with him about the new novel which sounds wonderful - an examination of three generations of women's lives. At the end of the piece he pays tribute to Rosamond Lehmann as an inspiration - another writer I adore.
What is it about his writing that I love? He just combines a heady mixture of comedy, pathos, contemporary British sensibility and creates wonderfully quirky yet humanly recognizable characters. Honestly, he's one of those few writers that can truly make you laugh and cry at the same time - sometimes even in the same paragraph. He's a hard writer to compare with others, but I think he's a contemporary Evelyn Waugh with a bit of Alan Bennett, Ali Smith and early Kingsley Amis thrown in. At any rate, you MUST read him. I suggest starting with The Rotters' Club that follows four school boys in 1970s Birmingham and then follow up with the sequel, The Closed Circle which continues their lives in Tony Blair's England.

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