Following on from my last post (which you can read here), in which I started listing the books that had made the most impression on me over about the last 10 years, here are a few more.
The Winshaw Legacy: Or, What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe (1994)
This novel is the story of the Winshaws, a nasty, disfunctional, aristocratic family, and takes place in the 1980s. It’s a book about Thatcherism and the greed that went along with it. And it’s very funny.
It’s a bit like a cross between Dickens and Wodehouse and centres on a writer, Michael Owen, who is hired to write the history of the Winshaws. In undertaking this he uncovers lots of skeletons in lots of cupboards.
Coe is a terrific writer and I’ve also read some of his other books which I can also recommend: The House of Sleep and The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim.
Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes (1959)
The book is set near the end of the 1950s (as I’ve said before, a decade I love reading about), and is about the birth of teen culture as a distinct thing. It’s set in London and is about a group of teenagers as they discover sex, drugs and music. There’s a sort of innocence about it, probably caused by knowing what came after. But it’s very evocative of the time and place, a few years before youth culture really took off.
It’s the second book in The London Trilogy and follows on from City of Spades, about the emergent black culture in London. It is followed by Mr. Love and Justice, which focuses on prostitution and was published the year after Absolute Beginners.
I haven’t read either of these but intend to eventually. Continue reading