Tag Archives: Jonathan Coe

Deals of the Moment- July 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Room- Emma Donoghue

Sad but beautiful book about a mother who is being held captive with her (and her captor’s) son.

You can buy it…here (only £1.39)


Alone in Berlin- Hans Fallada

Alone in Berlin has been on my wishlist so long that I couldn’t even remember what it was about, but I do remember that it was a review I read on BCF in my pre-blogging days that made me add it. So maybe I should buy it.

It’s about a house of families living in Berlin during WW2, and how one family starts a campaign of defiance against the Nazis

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I haven’t read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, probably something I should rectify. Plus this one is on The Rory List

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)


Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell

I’m not a big fan of YA, but I do like Rainbow Rowell, I think it’s because she writes about ‘real’ characters, people like me. Eleanor & Park is a love story with a difference, two teenagers, not particularly popular or stereotypically attractive, but real.

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


Number 11- Jonathan Coe

I really enjoy reading Jonathon Coe. This one is about the connections between the public and private worlds

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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The Accidental Woman- Jonathan Coe


Synopsis

Maria is a woman who is drifting through life. Things happen to her, but she has little drive in what happens. We follow her life for fifteen years, starting just before she starts university.

 

Review

I found The Accidental Woman a little awkward. It’s Coe’s first novel and bares little resemblance to his others. The style of writing is different, and although it is interesting in its difference it also feels a bit like it was used to spread out a story where nothing much really happens.

Coe himself is the narrator, he tells Maria’s story as an author, referring to himself as such. At times this is somewhat amusing because he suggests that he might know how the reader is feeling, but then proceeds not to follow the thought pattern of the reader. In this way he ends up going off on tangents, saying he will tell us about something, then taking a chapter to talk about something else. It is this that makes it seem like a device to spread out the story, but it also makes the reader feel a little like Maria- powerless.

Maria was unlikeable. She seemed so unconnected to her own life, things happened to her and she just let them happen. She would want things but never go for them. She liked to think of herself as somewhat of a loner, but she had friends who she didn’t make any effort with, or any effort to keep, even when she liked them (which was rare).

At a few points it did seem like there was going to be more of a plot, but those points were never explored (which I suppose is Maria’s way), and that was frustrating as a reader.

If you’ve read other novels by Coe you may like to explore the differences in his style by reading ‘The Accidental Woman’, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as your first Coe- maybe ‘The Rotter’s Club’ instead

2.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£8.99)

Kindle (£2.99)

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The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim- Jonathon Coe


This book was read as part of the Take a Chance Challenge

from bookdepository

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Maxwell Sim seems to have hit rock bottom: separated from his wife and daughter, estranged from his father, and with no one to confide in even though he has 74 friends on Facebook. He’s not even sure whether he’s got a job until suddenly a strange business proposition comes his way which involves a long journey to the Shetland Isles – and a voyage into his family’s past which throws up some surprising revelations.

Jonathan Coe’s new book is a story for our times: Maxwell finds himself at sea in the modern world, surrounded by social networks but unable to relate properly to anyone. Yet as he delves into his family history he manages to find the resources to survive.

Review

I really want to talk about the end of this book but I think maybe the end is not the best place to start!

Overall The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim made me think of Mark Haddon’s ‘A Spot of Bother‘. The character of Max was very similar to George, or at least their situation was. However while I found A Spot of Bother a little disturbing, and found it difficult to see through to the jokes, I found that a lot of The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim was funny, even what could have been depressing bits were delivered well, they didn’t seem too gloomy. [highlight for A Spot of Bother spoiler]In fact my overriding memory of A Spot of Bother is of George trying to cut off his excema with a pair of scissors. The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim has no such disturbing scenes (although apparently the scene in A Spot of Bother is meant to be funny.)

There were a fair few twists and turns as well that were good. One though seemed really unneccessary and I don’t really get why it was included. I’m not going to spell it out which bit because I think if you’ve read it you’ll know, and spoilers are tempting to read!

The only really problem I’m say with this book is that it can be quite mundane at times. You just feel like you’re reading the life of any old person really, but maybe that is the point. Max is meant to be someone who could easily be you.

So the end. That was one twist and half. I’m still trying to get my head around it two days later. In some ways I kind of get why it was there, something to do with Jonathon Coe talking about himself, or maybe just writers in general. It just seems a bit out of place.

Certainly not the best Coe I’ve ever read, but still worth the read.

3.5/5

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Humour