Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Bo-Co)

Coe, Jonathan

family film carve sleep

(British, 1961– )

Cambridge-educated Coe has written about Hollywood film star Jimmy Stewart in A Wonderful Life (1994), and his passion for film shows through in the loud characters and ingenious plotting of What a Carve Up! (1994). Like an English comic horror film it tells the family history of the Winshaws, starting with Mad Aunt Tabitha, locked away in the family home in Yorkshire since the war. Tabitha urges the narrator, Michael Owen, to spill the beans about the rich family's greedy relatives; in the process accounting for the years since 1942—especially the 1960s. Coe followed this scathing political satire with The House of Sleep (1997), in which four students meet at a clinic for sleep disorders. A thrilling and elegant romantic mystery, The House of Sleep is a distinct change from the anarchic humour of What a Carve Up! In 2000 Coe returned to the kind of satire that engendered What a Carve Up!, but turning his focus on the youth of the 1970s. The result, The Rotters' Club, is one of his most accomplished books to date.

Julian Barnes, John Irving, Nigel Williams  AM

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