Review: Middle England by Jonathan Coe — Brexit Britain, the tragicomedy

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The Rotters’ Club, which introduced the teenage Benjamin Trotter, televised in 2005 The Rotters’ Club, which introduced the teenage Benjamin Trotter, televised in 2005BBC

Tragicomedy is perhaps the only viable medium for a novel about Brexit, and Jonathan Coe brings his usual lightness of touch to a subject that could make an author come over bitter and humourless. His affectionately witty attitude to our human foibles is always uplifting, even when the politically divisive subject matter is morbidly depressing.

In Middle England, Coe reintroduces us to Benjamin Trotter and friends who first appeared in his 2001 novel, The Rotters’ Club. This cast of characters, cohorts from a Midlands grammar school, have seen many personal and public changes since their 1970s youth and by the time we caught up with them as adults in 2004’s The Closed Circle, they were fully engulfed by the New Labour dream. This latest volume…

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  • Books
  • Brexit
  • Europe