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  • Paperback
  • 478
  • What a Carve Up
  • Jonathan Coe
  • Italian
  • 06 August 2019
  • 9788807700620

10 thoughts on “What a Carve Up

  1. says:

    One of the true joys in life in my opinion is the right to differ Few things can be compared to the feeling you get when you read a book or see a movie which everyone has been raving about and realize that it's utter crap I really wanted that to be the case with What A Carve Up although having read Coe in the past I knew there wasn't much chance for that It's one of those books that I feel there's not much point talking about No matter what I say about it you cannot grasp the true brilliance of Coe's masterpiece until you've read it No words can do it justice Political comedy an accusing point with the finger to the powers that be or a mystery novel? Coe proves that sometimes there's absolutely no point in categorizing what's beyond categorization P S The chapter about Dorothy is one of the most traumatic brilliant and simply put perfect chapters in the history of literature while the symbolism of the ending had me just blankly staring at the page for what seemed like a very long time

  2. says:

    Wow this is a book with many layers to it and it was not like anything I’ve ever read before First of all this is a book about the infamous Winshaw family who is greedy and completely irritational and unbelievable The introduction tells of us this dysfunctional family as a whole but during the narrative we zoom in on the children and how they’ve grown up into greedy and unsympathetic adults Second of all this is the story of the writer Michael who is hired to write a biography of the infamous Winshaw family His narrative works as a frame to the whole story and we freuently turn back to him and his endeavour to write down the family’s history Third of all this book is based on an old horror movie called “What A Carve Up”; a movie that works as a parallel to the story of the Winshaws and the writer Michael This novel comes with some very memorable scenes that were perfectly described and that have carved themselves into my memory pun intended It was a fascinating read but it was also a book that taught me to be patient and stick to the story through the rather long and dragging descriptions of the greedy family members not all of them were that interesting to read about but once you reached the end of their story it all made PERFECTLY sense What a book What a carve up

  3. says:

    I have no idea why this book got stuck in my head years ago as something I had to read but it did and when I saw it on a shelf recently I thought why not give it a crack at long last now? And I’m glad I finally read it but eh it’s just ok What a Carve Up by Jonathan Coe is a critiue of Margaret Thatcher’s reign from 1979 to 1990 where the Tories “carved up” public assets and sold them off to the private sector to the public’s detriment Coe personifies these critiues poor healthcare banking deregulation war profiteering and a cheapening of the culture in the form of the fictional mega wealthy Winshaw family whose lives are chronicled here It’s also about the family’s biographer Michael Owen an ordinary man whose life is connected to and affected by the Winshaws in ways than he realises And the title is also a reference to an obscure 1961 movie of the same name starring Sid James Kenneth Connor and Shirley Eaton which Michael Owen is obsessed with and whose plot mirrors the book’s in places Phewf what a labyrinthine concept And the first thing to say about it is that Jonathan Coe deserves a lot of credit for juggling this many balls without dropping one it really is an admirably detailed and masterfully told story And then the second thing to say is that after all that the effect is underwhelming Coe has enormous contempt for Thatcher and her ilk but besides that I’m not sure what he’s trying to say beyond expressing that rage in what I imagine was for him that cathartic finale The criticisms of Thatcher’s era as personified in the Winshaws isn’t as strong across the board I could see it in the banker Thomas the politician Henry and the weapons dealer Mark because banking politics and war were the most prominent features of that time but Roddy the art dealer and Hillary the newspaper columnist? Eh their contributions to giving the public sub standard art was a weak point It’s also an immensely contrived narrative I understand that in most fiction you have to allow for a degree of disbelief suspension but there were just too many contrivances for my liking Random lodgers in some distant town playing a major role years down the line that forced four month romance between Michael and Fiona shoe horned in for a strained sentimental moment to underline the problems of the NHS a chance encounter with someone connecting decades back to WW2 and the Winshaw family and Michael Owen I mean really? And what was the point of constantly drawing parallels to the Sid James movie why did the book have to turn into a pastiche of that film?There are also a lot of slow boring parts to the book Too many of Michael Owen’s chapters weren’t engaging nor were all of the Winshaw family chapters Dorothy Thomas and Mark terribly interesting I really enjoyed all of the scenes set in the macabre Winshaw Towers as well as all the parts featuring the wretched clan suabbling amongst themselves than a few Winshaws come off as amusing Roald Dahl grotesues The wonderfully named and overly sexed elderly gay detective Findlay Onyx was a fun and uirky addition And some of the Winshaw family chapters were really good Henry’s is a wry look at the rise and fall of Thatcher Being a fan of Agatha Christie and especially her best novel And Then There Were None I really loved the finale as it turned into a country house murder mystery Coe’s writing is incredibly skillful and though I found the narrative contrived it is remarkable to put together this kind of layered storytelling where even the smallest components come into play at some later point The novel could certainly be tightened up though it didn’t need to be 500 pages long for what it is It’s too sprawling making its points unfocused and watered down especially its overall verdict on Thatcher which was unremarkable I’m glad I read What a Carve Up if only to cross it off my mental checklist of books to read in this life and it had its moments but I wouldn’t say it’s a great novel anyone needs to read

  4. says:

    What a Carve Up is so much than a political novel though it is certainly that The Winshaw peeps represent all that was wrong with the greed decade 1980s in Britain when people I cared for couldn’t get a job or proper medical treatment on the national health In spite of my disgust with those times I’m delighted by Coe’s absolutely horrid unabashedly over the top ‘baddies’ who represent what can go wrong when creeps rule Also a plus is the ever shifting narrative from first person to manuscript to newspaper article to third person etc Love itCoe draws a network of parallels between his narrative and the 1961 film What a Carve Up which is itself a spiffy parody of the horror film and the British cozy genres The author uses a tame bedroom scene from the movie to describe the sexual awakening of the protagonist Owen as a youth and in a separate part of the book Thomas Winshaw’s paraphilia But the connection to the film runs deeper The characters and situations Coe draws are at times as outlandish as those in the film A beastly upper crust family; the imposing dark mansion; an attractive sincere nurse; a grave family solicitor; a nutty spinster; tensions between social class; unreuited love; the reading of the will with ensuing murders; and certainly sexual repression – all these elements from the film are in this novel Suits me; the film’s been on my mental ‘like’ list for uite some time because it’s a homage to Christie’s Ten Little IndiansThere are yummy little illustrations of each Winshaw dotted throughout the book; each introduces the characters’ textual profiles As caricatures they are as cartoonish and farcical as Coe’s text Likewise they provide lots of information on who these people really are Stylistically they copy Tenniel and I believe that this is intentional because they effectively convey a type of demented whimsy that's found in Alice Through the Looking Glass I hope these sketches are in all editionsThe message is fairly straightforward Greed is bad and can ruin people’s lives Got it But for me what saves this book from being boringly preachy are mainly two things The FionaOwen storyline harkens to Orpheus' loss of Eurydice a major sniffle moment Much of the sexuality in the book is insulated dreamlike and voyeuristic Let’s face it – a healthy well adjusted existence is preferred by most in real life but makes for poor copy The film’s bedroom scene presented through a mirror; Owen’s titillation via the lens of countless video tapes; Joan’s slumber observed; the deliciously icky Thomas all these remind me of the pathos and terrible conseuences of an Orphean gaze and the impotence of fear and greedThe novel’s other saving grace and great strength is humor I wonder Would I like this book as much if I didn’t agree with the author’s politics as presented in the text? How much does this matter to me? I dunno But it’s been a long time since a novel has made me laugh right out loud the way this one has I startled the cat on several occasions with my guffaws This is truly the author’s gift because it’s those funny shiny moments in the novel that remind me how hilarity makes life worth living no matter who’s running the country Now I will never see a Maraschino cherry as just a Maraschino cherry I am very happy to have read this book

  5. says:

    2018 reread review One little fear I have when I reread a favourite book is if I dislike it This is the third time I’ve read Jonathan Coe’s fourth novel What a Carve Up and not only did I like it than the previous 2 readings but I discovered how deep Coe’s sense of satire isThe centerpiece of the book could be The Winshaws the awful aristocratic family or Michael Owen the person who has been commissioned to write biography about the Winshaws but in reality I would say that the film What a Carve up is the true link between everything that happens in the novelThe film itself is a British horror comedy which Michael Own watches as a birthday treat Unfortunately his mother deems the film unsuitable and pulls Michael out of the cinema midway and all the way through adulthood he incorporates his life within the film Not only that but Michael has other vivid memories about his childhood; the farm he grew up on the walks in the park the death of his father and his first forays into writing All are linked to the WinshawsThe Winshaws are an example of upper class people at their worst Each of the siblings or parents have controlled a certain aspect of society; for example Hilary the youngest Winshaw works as a gossip columnist and damages reputations Roddy her brother works as an Art Dealer and screws people in every way possible Mark their cousin is an arms dealer Dorothy their aunt works in animal husbandry and so on All Winshaws will stop at nothing to achieve their aims even if it means killing the people closest to them Coe has picked a perfect metaphor on politics generally people who don’t understand the profession or do not care about the welfare of others wreaking havoc on the common folks while earning a handsome profitAs Michael is chosen to write a biography on these people he begins his research and the he discovers the horrors these people commit the he realises how they have affected his life from childhood Murders disappearances wars all are linked to The WInshaws Yes that includes the film What a Carve Up as wellWhat a Carve up is no ordinary satire It doubles as a murder mystery especially during the ending which resembles an elaborate game of Cluedo Coe doesn’t stop there The book contains high comedy adventure and horror Despite the complexity and cleverness of this novel it is readable and entertainingThis paltry review just skims the surface of this deep book I could also mention how Coe manages to link all details in the most surprising way how the Dorothy chapter will give you nightmares how he can make a person eating a cheeseburger sound amazing There are surprises but it is fun if you discover themConsidering that Coe’s previous three novels were ok What a Carve Up is clearly an artistic leap With Carve Up Coe has managed to combine experimental techniues and make them accessible I cannot stress that this is a work of genius and I am not exaggerating Read Read Read this novel

  6. says:

    Remember when Hollywood used to keep putting out extremely similar movies two by two at exactly the same time like The Truman Show and Pleasantville or Antz and A Bug's Life? This novel is the companion piece to Iain Banks' slightly better Complicity; in both someone goes around murdering representatives of the vile English establishment in amusing ways The point is to spin some riffs on the various ways these creeps run the UK It's all a big revenge fantasy and uite amusing and all that but it just isn't very serious Which I wouldn't mention only this particular novel is 500 pages long so the jokes had better be good ones

  7. says:

    This book is absolutely wonderful I'd read it before a few years ago and was itching to get my hands on it again I'm not sure exactly why it's so great fantastic characterisation a hugely twisting and turning plot hilariously funny consistently surprisingit has it allMicheal Owen is an out of luck writer who was commissioned to write a history of the Winshaw Family a hugely rich and hugely powerful family who between them manage to carve up pretty much every influential sphere of British life Forever cutting corners and trampling on the common man they are a hideous bunch of people and the Micheal learns about them the he starts to blame them for the failings in his own life When the numerous threads of this wonderful story come together at the end it's unput downable Go read

  8. says:

    Hugely readable and very enjoyable social satire drawing on English farce and spoof horror movies Ostensibly the story of the Winshaw family a family stuck twice by tragedy but never on such a terrible scale as the book both starts and ends One of the two brothers of the second generation Godfrey is shot down on a crew mission in the war causing his closest sister Tabitha to cause the other brother Lawrence of his murder with such vehemence and persistence that she is taken to a mental hospital Twenty years later she is released for the other brother Mortimer's fiftieth birthday a fraught occasion which ends in a murderous assault on Lawrence who ends up killing his unknown assailant The remainder of the book is set in the 1980s and very much a zeitgeist of that era One set of key characters are the five third generation Winshaw's Hilary a reactionary right wing newspaper columnist Henry an ex labour politician now defected to the Tories and an enthusiast for NHS privatisation both publically on chat shows and behind the scenes in lobbying Roderick an exploitative art dealer Dorothy married to a farmer whose business she has turned into an intensively factory farmed purveyor of ready made junk food Thomas an investment banker making his fortune from privatisation and Mark a shady arms dealer bound up with Ira All are hugely successful with massively intertwined relationships across the establishment and utterly greed driven and amoral The short chapters on each of them pick up on their lives in satirical but also insightful detail which skewer the times The other key character is Michael Owen a fairly hopeless author commissioned in odd circumstances by Tabitha to write a biography of the family There are a number of other related normal characters around him which turn out to have links both to him and to the Winshaw's whose ability to cause misery and detestation in their wake is partly traced through their stories The book ends with the reading of Mortimer's will to which Michael is invited and which features the elimination of each of the third generation in macabre ways which relate to their failings together with a series of revelations

  9. says:

    This book was recommended to me by a friend who stated it was a fun read Oh my god is this your idea of fun? Are you crazy woman? Tired dull not as funny as it thinks it is satire on 1980's Tory Britain Blah the Tories are not funny whichever way you spin them for those of you wishing to indulge in an experiment to prove this point feel free to move to the UK and suffer under the current government like the rest of us I just didn't see the point of this book and it is now filed under the same mental category as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen another pointless book Sadly I opted to take this book to Turkey with me as part of my long hard months away from the UK book pile Happily it's now been released as a book crossing book in Turkey which means there is probably zero chance of me ever seeing it again

  10. says:

    Perhaps interesting in a documentary way image of the merciless Thatcher years in Britain but I really couldn't force myself to liking this book The characters are almost all exaggerated caricatures especially the cynism of the Winshaw family the plot a bit too Agatha Christie like and the writing style too swollen Dickens like Coe certainly can write but after 150 pages I had seen enough

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What a Carve Up

Jonathan Coe Ü 4 Summary

Di uesti personaggi vengono ricostruiti i famosi anni Ottanta e perché no anche uelli che sembrano essere i futuri anni Novanta L'autore utilizza diversi codici narrativi dalla detective story all'horror gotico dalla farsa alla satira politica. Hugely readable

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Rupoli Hilary una giornalista senza opinioni definite Roderick un mercante d'arte lascivo e ignorante Dorothy crudele proprietaria di un'azienda agricola Henry un politico sempre pronto a cambiare partito Mark un trafficante d'armi Lungo le vite. What a Carve Up

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Michael Owen è stato incaricato di scrivere la biografia di una famiglia inglese molto antica e altrettanto disgustosa i Winshaw uasi ogni membro della famiglia è ispirato da una rapacità brutale e totalizzante Thomas un banchiere privo di sc. I have no idea

About the Author: Jonathan Coe

See this thread for information Jonathan Coe born 19 August 1961 in Birmingham is a British novelist and writer His work usually has an underlying preoccupation with political issues although this serious engagement is often expressed comically in the form of satire For example What a Carve Up reworks the plot of an old 1960s spoof horror film of the same name in the light of the 'carve up' of the UK's resources which some felt was carried out by Margaret Thatcher's right wing Conservative governments of the 1980s Coe studied at King Edward's School Birmingham and Trinity College Cambridge before teaching at the University of Warwick where he completed a PhD in English Literature In July 2006 he was given an honorary degree by The University of Birmingham Retrieved 1055 February 2 2009 from