Re: Jonathan Coe (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Sinister Noir)

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 19 May 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Sullivan" <>
> "Rules out Jonathan Coe's "What A Carve Up", though, since it's 'dark
> and sinister' yet paradoxically not 'harshly gritty enough'."
> Al, I've had that book (well, a retitled US edition) in my bookcase for
> a long time, but I've never gotten to it. Do you recommend it?

Unreservedly, Mark. It was the book of the year for me the year it came out
(was that really ten years ago?). By a mile. It's a sort of neo-Gothic farce about a guy commissioned to write the biography of an aristocratic British family. Large parts of the book are written in superb imitation of an old British horror-comedy movie. And the political observations are hilarious. I have heard it criticised for being over-the-top, and one or two characters have the occasional cartoonish moment, but then again, I can't think of too many subtle farces.


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