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Jonathan Coe’s new novel has a Brexit blind spot

An ambitious novel, Middle England is let down by its treatment of Brexit, says Ian Sansom

By Ian Sansom   November 2018

A general view of housing in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Jonathan Coe writes big, bold state-of-the-nation novels that demand to be taken seriously. Coe’s new novel Middle England is being promoted by his publishers as “The novel for our strange new age,” though such a claim depends on what exactly you think a novel, any novel, about our strange new age should be like, and indeed whether or not our age is in fact either strange or new.

Coe’s books often interconnect: his underrated 2015 novel Number 11,…

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