Book Club: What A Carve Up!
Six Reasons why...you should read What A Carve Up! By Jonathan Coe
If you like your characters devious, duplicitous, and just a little grotesque you will love this novel. Hateful, successful types come thick and fast – people you love to hate: political careerists, arms dealers, media-types and general profiteers. Delight in the Machiavellian manipulations. Are you a fan of House of Cards? No? You should be. Very similar universe. But that is beside the point. Back to the novel…
Fury – there are few other novels that are quite this splenetic. Society is a wreck of inequality, politics
aredripping with sleaze and corruption, people are self-serving and despicable - and this writer/narrator is angry. With a book this angry, the pages fly by as there is a level of fractious energy and passion that draws you through.
A Novelist main character – It is always fun to have a failed writer narrating a story – with What a Carve Up!’s Michael Owen, you get a depressed and reclusive failure to mock and scorn as much as you like while he ineptly searches for clues and attempt to decipher them
Post-modernism always has a sense of humour – it’s just not usually this relentless and dark. Michael
Owen,constantly refers to his fictive existence “I thought I was writing this story” he says.
There is a genuine mystery at the heart of this novel – Godfrey
Winshawis missing. He disappeared in 1942 in a secret mission over Germany. He was the only decent member of the Winshaw family – and – his sister believes he may have been murdered. Plus, due to the narrator’s propensity to point out all dubious details, the clues are not exactly hard to find.
Mystery-awareness abounds: this is an extension of the Post-modernism point, but the number of references to ‘a mystery’ could be a kind of drinking
game - ?No, of coursewe don’t advocate such irresponsible and grotesque behaviour. The book must have got to me. Please ignore that. (All views are my own and not those of Waterstones).
Inexplicably, Michael is commissioned to write the family history of the Winshaws, an upper class Yorkshire clan whose members have a finger in every establishment pie. But as a murderous maniac stalks the family, Michael realizes that his favourite film is coming true.