Coe has managed to create a whole plethora of memorable and exciting characters, lovingly mingling the realistic - like Ben Trotter, the clueless drea..Show More »mer, and Doug - with characters of almost Dickensian simplicity which tend to carry the humour but even these tokens, such as the absurd Mr Plumb and the bizarre Cicely, are brought to life in Coe's gifted hand.
As child of the 80s I was expecting to have to grapple with the history and feign interest, but not so! He demonstrates how these events developed into the politics of today, and cleverly nods to the future through the lens of people who don't yet know what is to come (Such as when a cock-sure character joyfully proclaims that Thatcher will never be Prime Minister!).
The style of writing is transparent - that is to say, it neither adds to the thrill of the story, but neither does it intrude on the enchanting plot which travels to Wales and even Denmark and Berlin in its quest to allegorize the Britain of the 70s.
The narrator of the audio version was born for the role, and I whole-heartedly believe that his authentic portrayal of voice and accent transformed the experience of this novel; made it better. His delivery brings Coe's humour to life, allowing for the ever-evasive "laugh out loud" we all hope for from a novel of this sort, as well as for the tears the close the first chapter. I have to admit that i couldn't get into the paperback version of this book, while the audiobook completely opened it up.
Every person in the class for this novel found a character to whom they could relate, and who they truly cared about. For most of us, including my parents (who were Ben's age in the 70s) this character was Ben Trotter, or his friend Doug. There are a lot of people out there that loved this novel. I am one of them, and I hope you will be too.
Having read all of Jonathan Coes previous books, I was delighted to find this book on audio.
Even if like myself, you have already enjoyed readi..Show More »ng the book itself, you are in for a real treat if you purchase this version.
Colin Buchanan's voices are stunning.
He conveys every aspect of Brummie life with wonderful eloquence.
He is even able to make the women in the story sound `real`.
As the final chapters unfold and you realise that you are not hearing things as the numbers of the chapters are given, you will quite literally, not want to put this book down.
Well, your i-pod at least.
5 out of 5 is no idle rating, in my best Birmingham accent, all I can say is that its brilliant.