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If Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie had ever managed to collaborate they might have produced this shamelessly entertai. I have no idea why this book got stuck in my head years ago as something I had to read but it did and when I saw it on a shelf recently I thought why not give it a crack at long last now And I’m glad I finally read it but eh it’s just ok What a Carve Up by Jonathan Coe is a critiue of Margaret Thatcher’s reign from 1979 to 1990 where the Tories “carved up” public assets and sold them off to the private sector to the public’s detriment Coe personifies these critiues poor healthcare banking deregulation war profiteering and a cheapening of the culture in the form of the fictional mega wealthy Winshaw family whose lives are chronicled here It’s also about the family’s biographer Michael Owen an ordinary man whose life is connected to and affected by the Winshaws in ways than he realises And the title is also a reference to an obscure 1961 movie of the same name starring Sid James Kenneth Connor and Shirley Eaton which Michael Owen is obsessed with and whose plot mirrors the book’s in places Phewf what a labyrinthine concept And the first thing to say about it is that Jonathan Coe deserves a lot of credit for juggling this many balls without dropping one it really is an admirably detailed and masterfully told story And then the second thing to say is that after all that the effect is underwhelming Coe has enormous contempt for Thatcher and her ilk but besides that I’m not sure what he’s trying to say beyond expressing that rage in what I imagine was for him that cathartic finale The criticisms of Thatcher’s era as personified in the Winshaws isn’t as strong across the board I could see it in the banker Thomas the politician Henry and the weapons dealer Mark because banking politics and war were the most prominent features of that time but Roddy the art dealer and Hillary the newspaper columnist Eh their contributions to giving the public sub standard art was a weak point It’s also an immensely contrived narrative I understand that in most fiction you have to allow for a degree of disbelief suspension but there were just too many contrivances for my liking Random lodgers in some distant town playing a major role years down the line that forced four month romance between Michael and Fiona shoe horned in for a strained sentimental moment to underline the problems of the NHS a chance encounter with someone connecting decades back to WW2 and the Winshaw family and Michael Owen I mean really And what was the point of constantly drawing parallels to the Sid James movie why did the book have to turn into a pastiche of that filmThere are also a lot of slow boring parts to the book Too many of Michael Owen’s chapters weren’t engaging nor were all of the Winshaw family chapters Dorothy Thomas and Mark terribly interesting I really enjoyed all of the scenes set in the macabre Winshaw Towers as well as all the parts featuring the wretched clan suabbling amongst themselves than a few Winshaws come off as amusing Roald Dahl grotesues The wonderfully named and overly sexed elderly gay detective Findlay Onyx was a fun and uirky addition And some of the Winshaw family chapters were really good Henry’s is a wry look at the rise and fall of Thatcher Being a fan of Agatha Christie and especially her best novel And Then There Were None I really loved the finale as it turned into a country house murder mystery Coe’s writing is incredibly skillful and though I found the narrative contrived it is remarkable to put together this kind of layered storytelling where even the smallest components come into play at some later point The novel could certainly be tightened up though it didn’t need to be 500 pages long for what it is It’s too sprawling making its points unfocused and watered down especially its overall verdict on Thatcher which was unremarkable I’m glad I read What a Carve Up if only to cross it off my mental checklist of books to read in this life and it had its moments but I wouldn’t say it’s a great novel anyone needs to read

Free download What a Carve Up

What a Carve UpDe force of menace malicious comedy and torrential social bile this book marks the American debut of an extraordinary writ. This book was recommended to me by a friend who stated it was a fun read Oh my god is this your idea of fun Are you crazy woman Tired dull not as funny as it thinks it is satire on 1980's Tory Britain Blah the Tories are not funny whichever way you spin them for those of you wishing to indulge in an experiment to prove this point feel free to move to the UK and suffer under the current government like the rest of us I just didn't see the point of this book and it is now filed under the same mental category as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen another pointless book Sadly I opted to take this book to Turkey with me as part of my long hard months away from the UK book pile Happily it's now been released as a book crossing book in Turkey which means there is probably zero chance of me ever seeing it again

Jonathan Coe ë 9 Summary

Read & Download What a Carve Up ✓ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ô [Read] ➪ What a Carve Up By Jonathan Coe – 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 mostNing novel which introduces readers to what may be the most powerful family in England and is certainly the vilest A tour. What a Carve Up is so much than a political novel though it is certainly that The Winshaw peeps represent all that was wrong with the greed decade 1980s in Britain when people I cared for couldn’t get a job or proper medical treatment on the national health In spite of my disgust with those times I’m delighted by Coe’s absolutely horrid unabashedly over the top ‘baddies’ who represent what can go wrong when creeps rule Also a plus is the ever shifting narrative from first person to manuscript to newspaper article to third person etc Love itCoe draws a network of parallels between his narrative and the 1961 film What a Carve Up which is itself a spiffy parody of the horror film and the British cozy genres The author uses a tame bedroom scene from the movie to describe the sexual awakening of the protagonist Owen as a youth and in a separate part of the book Thomas Winshaw’s paraphilia But the connection to the film runs deeper The characters and situations Coe draws are at times as outlandish as those in the film A beastly upper crust family; the imposing dark mansion; an attractive sincere nurse; a grave family solicitor; a nutty spinster; tensions between social class; unreuited love; the reading of the will with ensuing murders; and certainly sexual repression – all these elements from the film are in this novel Suits me; the film’s been on my mental ‘like’ list for uite some time because it’s a homage to Christie’s Ten Little IndiansThere are yummy little illustrations of each Winshaw dotted throughout the book; each introduces the characters’ textual profiles As caricatures they are as cartoonish and farcical as Coe’s text Likewise they provide lots of information on who these people really are Stylistically they copy Tenniel and I believe that this is intentional because they effectively convey a type of demented whimsy that's found in Alice Through the Looking Glass I hope these sketches are in all editionsThe message is fairly straightforward Greed is bad and can ruin people’s lives Got it But for me what saves this book from being boringly preachy are mainly two things The FionaOwen storyline harkens to Orpheus' loss of Eurydice a major sniffle moment Much of the sexuality in the book is insulated dreamlike and voyeuristic Let’s face it – a healthy well adjusted existence is preferred by most in real life but makes for poor copy The film’s bedroom scene presented through a mirror; Owen’s titillation via the lens of countless video tapes; Joan’s slumber observed; the deliciously icky Thomas all these remind me of the pathos and terrible conseuences of an Orphean gaze and the impotence of fear and greedThe novel’s other saving grace and great strength is humor I wonder Would I like this book as much if I didn’t agree with the author’s politics as presented in the text How much does this matter to me I dunno But it’s been a long time since a novel has made me laugh right out loud the way this one has I startled the cat on several occasions with my guffaws This is truly the author’s gift because it’s those funny shiny moments in the novel that remind me how hilarity makes life worth living no matter who’s running the country Now I will never see a Maraschino cherry as just a Maraschino cherry I am very happy to have read this book