Book review: Number 11

AUTHOR Jonathan Coe introduced his readers to the ghastly Winshaw family in his 1994 novel What A Carve Up!

Their satirical purpose was to embody all that was terrible about Britain during the Thatcher-Major era, and they did so with such biting ferocity that the young author was awarded the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize the following year.

Now he’s at it again. Number 11 is his 11th novel and in a skillful dissection of all that is least attractive about life under Cameron and Osborne, we meet a new generation of the entitled, self-serving, over-privileged clan.

From the theatre of cruelty that is reality television, to food banks, social media, fatuous awards ceremonies and the impotence of political comedy, nothing escapes his baleful eye.

It’s brilliant and hugely entertaining. However, on this evidence Coe is certainly a glass-half-empty sort of person, and his authorial voice is that of a grumpy old man.

Number 11

Jonathan Coe

Viking, €22.95; ebook, €13.50

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