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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The dazzling new novel from the prize-winning, best-selling author of Middle England.

In the heady summer of 1977, a naïve young woman called Calista sets out from Athens to venture into the wider world. On a Greek island that has been turned into a film set, she finds herself working for the famed Hollywood director Billy Wilder, about whom she knows almost nothing. But the time she spends in this glamorous, unfamiliar new life will change her for good.

While Calista is thrilled with her new adventure, Wilder himself is living with the realisation that his star may be on the wane. Rebuffed by Hollywood, he has financed his new film with German money, and when Calista follows him to Munich for the shooting of further scenes, she finds herself joining him on a journey of memory into the dark heart of his family history. 

In a novel that is at once a tender coming-of-age story and an intimate portrait of one of cinema's most intriguing figures, Jonathan Coe turns his gaze on the nature of time and fame, of family and the treacherous lure of nostalgia. When the world is catapulting towards change, do you hold on for dear life or decide it's time to let go?

©2020 Jonathan Coe (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Coe is a writer of uncommon decency." (Observer)

What listeners say about Mr Wilder and Me

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A film buff’s dream

This was a delightful book that was beautifully narrated. I can only say, without giving the plot away that anyone who loves films and in particular the wonderful films (at their best) of the late great Billy Wilder, will adore this imaginary journey narrated by a Greek film composer of her memories of the great directors/writer as he makes a late film “Fedora”. A genuine treat especially for people like me!

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beautiful, tender, lovely

And artful. Coe writes stories about people you can believe in whose lives are barely more interesting than your own but which breathe because JC knows how to give stories life.

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  • 16-11-20

poignant great uplifting book

great story told in easygoing style. I didn't really know anything about Billy wilder but fascinating

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HW

A brilliant story which I felt Jonathan Coe wrote just for me. Wistfully nostalgic, wittily realistic, fun with a serious and thought-provoking thread running through it. Marvellous. Absolutely marvellous.

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Distracting & thought-provoking. Superb.

'Whatever else it throws at you, life will always have pleasures to offer - and you should take them'. Jonathan Coe's latest is one of those pleasures.