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Book Club: What A Carve Up!

Posted on 21st September 2015 by Sally Campbell
Six Reasons why...you should read What A Carve Up! By Jonathan Coe
  1. 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…


  2. Fury – there are few other novels that are quite this splenetic. Society is a wreck of inequality, politics are dripping 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.


  3. 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


  4. 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.


  5. There is a genuine mystery at the heart of this novel – Godfrey Winshaw is 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.


  6. 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 course we 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).



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