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  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241983683
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $22.99

Middle England

Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2019

The novel to truly capture the comedy and tragedy of our times

Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change.

There are newlyweds Ian and Sophie, who disagree about the future of the country and, possibly, the future of their relationship; Doug, the political commentator who writes impassioned columns about austerity from his Chelsea townhouse, and his radical teenage daughter who will stop at nothing in her quest for social justice; Benjamin Trotter, who embarks on an apparently doomed new career in middle age, and his father Colin, whose last wish is to vote in the European referendum. And within all these lives is the story of modern England: a story of nostalgia and delusion; of bewilderment and barely-suppressed rage.

Following in the footsteps of The Rotters' Club and The Closed Circle, Jonathan Coe's new novel is the novel for our strange new times.

  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241983683
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe was born in Birmingham in 1961. His novels include Rotters, The Accidental Woman, A Touch of Love, The Dwarves of Death and What a Carve Up!, which won the 1995 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Itranger.The House of Sleep won the Writers' Guild Best Fiction Award for 1997.

Jonathan Coe was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1961. He began writing at an early age. His first surviving story, a detective thriller called The Castle of Mystery, was written when he was eight. His first published novel was The Accidental Woman in 1987, but it was his fourth, What a Carve Up!, that established his reputation as one of England’s finest comic novelists, winning the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1985 and being translated into many languages. Seven bestselling novels and many other awards have followed, including the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for Like A Fiery Elephant, a biography of the experimental novelist, B. S. Johnson. Jonathan lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

Also by Jonathan Coe

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Praise for Middle England

Brilliantly funny . . . a compelling state of the nation novel, full of light and shade, which vividly charts modern Britain's tragicomic slide


Expansive and often very funny . . . Coe - a writer of uncommon decency - reminds us that the way out of this mess is through moderation, through compromise, through that age-old English ability to laugh at ourselves


A pertinent, entertaining study of a nation in crisis

'Books of the Year', Financial Times

His affectionately witty attitude to our human foibles is always uplifting . . . Superb

The Times

In Middle England, Coe shows an understanding of this country that goes beyond what most cabinet ministers can muster . . . he subtly builds a picture that exposes the cracks in society . . . he is a master of satire but pokes fun subtly, without ever being cruel, biting or blatant . . . his light, funny writing makes you feel better

Evening Standard

Tackling his characters' opposing points of view, he draws a portrait of a recognisable Britain baffled by its loss of industry and jobs, and of everyday people shocked by a rise of acceptable racism and xenophobia. It's also very, very funny


Millions of words have been and will be written on Brexit but few will get to the heart of why it is happening as incisively as Middle England

John Boyne, Irish Times

This is a picture of England that comes from a place of compassion and understanding


Coe is as funny and tender as ever, restoring some humanity to the tumultuous societal backdrop


Middle England combines top-class soap opera storytelling with melancholy insight into what it means to be English


Middle England takes all that is memorable and moving about Coe's body of work and throws it at the present emergency

Alex Clark, TLS

Sparkled with all the acuity of his best novels . . . Uproarious and always on-the-money

Books of the Year, Evening Standard

Very funny . . . Exceptionally good . . . Delightful

BBC Radio 4, Saturday Review

Middle England is a full-blooded state of the nation novel, and it brings us bang up-to-date

Sunday Times

Coe is an extraordinarily deft plotter . . . he tackles big ambitious themes, in this case the effect of politics on people's lives, and political opinions on personal relations

Mail on Sunday

The beauty of Jonathan Coe's new novel, Middle England, is the way it tracks the seemingly unconnected moments that brought Britain to its knees - and with devastating delicacy, too

Eva Wiseman, Observer

The great chronicler of Englishness


A copper bottomed masterpiece

Barney Norris

Coe's comic critique of a divided country dazzles . . . properly laugh-out-loud funny . . . it is also incisive and brilliant about our divided country and the deep chasms revealed by the vote to leave. Do not miss

The Bookseller

The first great Brexit novel

Sathnam Sanghera

This book is sublimely good. State of the (Brexit) nation novel to end them all, but also funny, tender, generous, so human and intelligent about age and love as well as politics

India Knight

Let me add to the chorus of praise for Jonathan Coe's new book Middle England. Easily my favourite of his since What a Carve Up! Which did for Thatcherism what Middle England does for Brexit

John Crace

An astute, enlightened and enlightening journey into the heart of our current national identity crisis. Both moving and funny. As we'd expect from Coe

Ben Elton

From post-industrial Birmingham to the London riots and the current political gridlock, it takes in family, literature and love in a comedy for our times


Coe can make you smile, sigh, laugh; he has abundant sympathy for his characters


This book is sublimely good. State of the (Brexit) nation novel to end them all, but also funny, tender, generous, so human and intelligent about age and love as well as politics

India Knight


Nicola Sturgeon

Jonathan Coe's Middle England is brilliantly insightful on the times we are living in

Mishal Husain, Books of the Year, Big Issue

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