England, England

by Barnes, Julian.

Format: Kindle Book 2009 2009
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A replica of Britain is created on the Isle of Wight, complete with Robin Hood, Princess Di and replays of the Battle of Britain. It is the idea of a millionaire to show tourists the real Britain, a land with a great past and no future.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Barnes' uneven eighth novel, shortlisted for the 1998 Booker Prize, opens with a timely and very funny premise, but the novel never lives up to its concept. Solipsistic, Beethoven-loving Sir Jack Pitman, interested in securing tourist dollars and firmly wedded to the belief that the replica is always more interesting than the real, builds the ideal travel destination, the theme park to end all theme parks: England, England. Among those hired to carry out Pitman's dream are an Idea Catcher, an Appointed Cynic, a French Intellectual, and an Official Historian--all described with Barnes' usual combination of intelligence and incisive language. With the purchase of the Isle of Wight, Pitman and his team offer visitors the chance to watch Robin Hood and his band of cohorts steal from the rich and give to the poor, admire the brave fighters who led the Battle of Britain as they prepare to take off for France, have dinner with Samuel Johnson, and stare at the (truly) white cliffs of Dover--all of British history and all in one day. A palace coup nearly topples Pitman permanently from power, but in the end, greed triumphs over all. After the opening chapters, however, this meditation on nationalism, the nature of Englishness, and human behavior works only spottily, and those spots get fewer and fewer as the book progresses. Still, the author of Flaubert's Parrot (1985) and The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (1989) has many fans, so librarians should buy accordingly. --Nancy Pearl"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The brilliantly playful author of Flaubert's Parrot and Cross Channel brings off a remarkable coup. He has imagined, with his customary wit, an England created especially for tourists, located on the Isle of Wight and equipped with all the essential elements of Englishness in their idealized form: Beefeaters, simple country policemen, village cricket matches, a Tower of London thoughtfully provided with a Harrod's store, reproductions of Robin Hood and his band, a Battle of Britain fought by period Spitfires every day, plenty of pubs and, of course, a miniature Buckingham Palace (the real king and queen have been put on salary and officiate at ceremonies as required). This is all the idea, and devising, of Sir Jack Pitman, one of those overwhelming robber barons of whom English novelists seem so fond. Heroine Martha Cochrane (who has been touchingly introduced in a brief opening chapter as a child) goes to work for him, and soon rises in his organization. Much of the book is a sparkling display of inventiveness as Barnes spoofs Englishry, big business and the fact that most tourists would sooner see an imitation in comfort than the real thing with some difficulty. Martha and her lover blackmail Sir Jack, who is caught in one of those bizarre sexual shenanigans that seem to appeal only to the English, and take over the ersatz England. Then the tables are turned, Martha is thrown out, and the book saunters into an exquisitely poignant coda that envisions a real England that has in effect withdrawn from the contemporary world to lovingly evoked rustic roots. The grace with which the novel's cynical laughter is made to shades into an emotion both dark and quiet is the product of writerly craft at a high pitch. Impossible to characterize adequately, but a rich pleasure on several very different levels, this surprising novel was a strong Booker candidate last year. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects National characteristics, English Fiction
Heritage tourism Fiction
Amusement parks Fiction
Isle of Wight (England) Fiction.
Electronic books.
Action and adventure fiction.
Publisher New York :Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group,2009
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group2009
Contributors OverDrive, Inc.
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: Adobe EPUB eBook
Format: Kindle Book
Format: OverDrive READ
Requires Adobe Digital Editions or Amazon Kindle
Description 1 online resource
ISBN 9780307555953
Other Classic View