Synopses & Reviews
At once uproariously entertaining and deadly serious--a comedy of manners and mores, but also a conscientious and politically charged reminder of an age quite easily forgotten, yet not far removed from our own.
--Henry Hitchings, Times Literary Supplement
The acclaimed author of The Winshaw Legacy--an epic satire of the eighties--now turns to the previous decade, which is to recent history what adolescence is to life itself: awkward, fervent, confused, sweetly naive, and oh-so-painfully familiar, yet also far less tiresomely ironic than what we've come to.
Our principal guides to this collective coming-of-age story are four boys, classmates and friends, who must cope with their own hopes and traumas as well as their country's, at a time when industrial and uncool Birmingham is on the cutting edge of Britain's economic crisis and the air is filled with upheaval and change--from class antagonism and Northern Ireland to new music and morals.
As for parents, it goes without saying that they don't help one little bit. Witnessing marital dissatisfaction lends no assurance to anyone facing the difficulties of holding a band together; of refining one's creativity, politics, or (god forbid) faith; of surviving classroom rivalries and racism and romance.
Comic, wistful, revisionist, and even romantic, seamlessly adjoining issues both intimately personal and broadly political, the novel is filled with characters whose destinies we care about, whose welfare moves us, wrote William Sutcliffe in The Independent (U.K.). This is the simplest, but the highest calling of literature. The Rotters' Club is a book to cherish, a book to reread, a book to buy for all yourfriends.
"I can't think of a writer who is more faithful to his memory, or to his perception of other people's memories, than [Coe]. Even those of us who didn't come of age in 1970s Birmingham, England, will hear echoes of our own youth in [his] latest novel." The Oregonian
"To be sure, Coe's '70s are rough going, certainly not the whitewashed, bell-bottom-ogling, smiley-face version the sitcoms would have us recall. The road to parity is littered with losses, blood, violence, injustice and needless death." Salon.com
"A must-read for anyone who cares about contemporary literature." Katie Owen, The Telegraph
"Jonathan Coe is the most exciting young British novelist writing today, and The Rotters' Club is yet another in an unbroken string of entrancing achievements." Bret Easton Ellis
"If Coe is right to claim that the 1970s were 'brown times,' then it is a testament to his skill that he has rendered them in such vivid colors." Stephen Amidon, The Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic review
The acclaimed author of "The Winshaw Legacy"--an epic satire of the eighties--now turns to the previous decade and four schoolmates who must cope with their own hopes and traumas as well as their country's, at a time when industrial and uncool Birmingham is at the heart of Britain's economic crisis.
About the Author
Jonathan Coe has received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the Prix Médicis Etranger, and, for The Rotters’ Club, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for the most original comic writing.