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The Coup Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 12, 1978
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“Ellelloû is an extraordinary tour-de-force of a character. . . . What a rich, surprising, and often funny novel The Coup is.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A very funny book as well as a serious one. It’s the work of an intelligent and funny and passionate man—and it’s good.”—The Washington Post Book World
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Top Customer Reviews
This is all great fun and no one escapes the author�s scalpel that dissects, via jibes and faux-dogmatism, the vacancy at the heart of everything. All are treated equally here: middle class America, drunken (stereotypical unfortunately) Russian missile crews, the USA's private racial embarrassment, the world�s great religions, clownish black Muslim students, superpower policy in the poorest countries, arrogant white liberal professors (who understand Africa better than Africans...!Read more ›
John Updike is obviously a great writer. It took me several dozen pages to get used to his writing style (heavy on satire and very witty), but I learned to really enjoy it. As an American living in a third world country- I could relate to several of the scenarios in the book. But instead of driving home any kind of moral lessons or preaching political preferences, Updike just makes a funny story out of these situations. Too often fiction has underlying agendas which overwhelm and overshadow the story. At times this is good, but usually it is annoying. Updike does nothing of the sort in this book, there is just good fiction and good laughs. I look forward to reading some of Updike's other stuff, as he is a very talented and enjoyable writer.
Ellellou unsurprisingly resents America, the world's greatest exponent of capitalism and tacky culture, "that fountainhead of obscenity and glut," as he calls it. "Offer your own blacks freedom before you pile boxes of carcinogenic trash on the holy soil of Kush," he haughtily tells an American aid worker just before his legions make a bonfire out of a large supply of donated food which engulfs the unfortunate man who brought it. His attitude stems from the time he spent there in the 1950s as a student at a small college in Wisconsin, where he met several other black students including a member of the Nation of Islam who helped to fuel his hatred towards whites. This was also where he met a WASPish white girl named Candy Cunningham, who, spiting her family, became one of his wives when he moved back to Kush. (Observing the polygamy allowed to him by Islam, Ellellou has three other wives he keeps in separate homes, and a mistress named Kutundu who figures significantly in his imminent downfall.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliantly written satire, even poetic in places. Moderately politically incorrect mockery of a poor African country (based on Chad) and its overly idealistic leader (reminiscent... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joseph D. Crowley
Back in 2008, John Updike said that if Barack Obama were to read any of his books, he would recommend "The Coup. Read morePublished 19 months ago by A reader
As the author of my own book on Africa, Gabon, I have to acknowledge Updike as a great master.
First published in 1978, The Coup is as fresh today as it was then, the... Read more
Updike's language is always extraordinary, but his endless tales of adultery in suburbia I find frankly boring. Read morePublished on October 28, 2012 by David Cleary
This novel has some interesting points, however I sense that Mr. Updike did not spend much time on it.
The Rabbit novels are excellent. Read more
Hakim Felix Ellelou is the ex-dictator of the African country Kush (which kind of resembles Sudan). This book is his memoir, not just of his time as a national leader, but of his... Read morePublished on May 16, 2010 by Amazon Customer
Sometimes there are novels that are almost too clever, too sophisticated, and too worldly. This is one such novel. Read morePublished on November 4, 2009 by C. Collins
This is a fascinating book told (switching seemingly at random between third and first person) of a character quite literally torn in two. Read morePublished on December 13, 2008 by Daniel Myers
In this dry, black comedy, Updike dares to try to make us sympathize with a Marxist African dictator - and is largely successful. Talk about chutzpah! Read morePublished on June 23, 2008 by Dave Deubler