Jonathan Coe: Number 11


The latest addition to my website is Jonathan Coe‘s Number 11. This is a sort of an update to Coe’s What a Carve Up! (US: The Winshaw Legacy). The former book attacks Thatcherism and this book attacks the current state of contemporary Britain, though far less savagely and not focussed on the prime minister but on the various evils of the country today. We follow Rachel Wells, aged six at the start of the book and in her early twenties by the end, but Coe tends to use her more as his eyes, as it is she who sees many of the things that he criticises, from forced labour of immigrants to the behaviour of the super-rich. There is not much of a plot, more a series of vignettes exposing the things Coe wants to expose, some in satirical form (e.g. easy targets such as reality shows on TV and right-wing journalists) but most in a straightforward critical tone. He certainly covers most of the evils of the country today and the book is an enjoyable enough read but it it does not have anything like the bite of What a Carve Up! (US: The Winshaw Legacy), despite its little touch of Hollywood-style horror/sci-fi towards the end.

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