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The Winshaw Legacy: or, What a Carve Up! Paperback – January 3, 1996
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From the Inside Flap
If Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie had ever managed to collaborate, they might have produced this shamelessly entertaining novel, which introduces readers to what may be the most powerful family in England--and is certainly the vilest. A tour de force of menace, malicious comedy, and torrential social bile, this book marks the American debut of an extraordinary writer.
About the Author
Born in Birmingham in 1961, Jonathan Coe took degrees from Cambridge and Warwick universities. He lives in London.
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It's a very unusual book...funny in parts, very satirical throughout, tilting at the values of 1980s/1990s UK right-wing values.
Story-wise, it's a series of short stores about each member of an extended well-to-do family that's involved in shady dealings in every industry from food to politics to arms dealing.
Coe is overly focused on coincidences and having all of the characters come together in a meaningful way so that so many events are bent and twisted too far to allow these coincidences to happen. I found myself engrossed in a storyline only to groan when a character from a previous chapter made an unlikely appearance.
The title of the book is also brought in repeatedly in such a heavy-handed way that it appears the author was "forcing" it to fit into various scenes. The title is a movie as well as parts of conversations and the grand finale of the book.
The writing style is very good and engaging. But, unless you're looking for a good satire, there are funnier books to read.
I found about it on the blog written by the BBCs' Adam Curtis.....surely one of the most interesting documentary makers & bloggers in the world at the moment.
You can see where he got some of the broader ideas for his documentary series "All watched over by machines of loving grace".
Is is a fictional history of a family of hypocritical greedy & nasty ideologues - the sort of people who did Thatchers bidding for her & who preach the virtues of "self-sufficency & working hard" - well not for themselves of course?!
The sort of traits we see from our current greedy, lazy & bloated ruling classes of narcisists. (OR is that the 1% these days?)
A novel that should be read by all.