Read The Closed Circle by Jonathan Coe Online

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The characters of The Rotters’ Club–Jonathan Coe’s beloved novel of adolescent life in the 1970s–have bartered their innocence for the vengeance of middle age in this incisive portrait of Cool Britannia at the millennium....

Title : The Closed Circle
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375713958
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Closed Circle Reviews

  • George Georgiadis
    2019-04-10 20:16

    Ο Κόου καταφέρνει κάτι εκπληκτικό, να καταπιάνεται με πολλά θέματα όπως οι οικογενειακοί δεσμοί, οι διαπροσωπικές σχέσεις, η εσωτερική αναζήτηση νοήματος και σκοπού, εντάσσοντάς τα εντός ενός ευρύτερου κοινωνικοπολιτικού πλαισίου χωρίς να χάνει τον στόχο του. Όλα αυτά βεβαίως με τον γνώριμο διεισδυτικό και αιχμηρό σχολιασμό που άλλοτε είναι ευθύς και άλλοτε υποβόσκων, δημιουργώντας ένα γλυκόπικρο και σχεδόν ελεγειακό μυθιστόρημα, ένα πολυεπίπεδο character study με τον τρόπο που μόνο αυτός μπορεί να προσφέρει.

  • Nasia
    2019-04-14 23:41

    Η συνέχεια της Λέσχης των Τιποτένιων μας βρίσκει 20 χρόνια μετά τα αρχικά γεγονότα, με τους ήρωες μας πλέον μπλεγμένους σε καταστάσεις προσωπικής τρέλας και χάους στην βρετανική πολιτική σκηνή με αφορμή την εισβολή των Αμερικανών στο Ιράκ. Η πένα του Κόοου δεν απογοητεύει και το ψυχογράφημα των χαρακτήρων που μας προσφέρει τοποθετείται στο σωστό πολιτικό πλαίσιο με την ειρωνεία να παίζει σημαντικό ρόλο όπου ακριβώς χρειάζεται.

  • Emily
    2019-04-21 22:33

    Το βιβλίο αποτελεί τη συνέχεια της "Λέσχης των Τιποτένιων" και το καλύτερο θα ήταν να ξεκινήσει ο αναγνώστης από εκεί. Ο "Κλειστός κύκλος" ξανασυναντά τους έφηβους ήρωες της Λέσχης, 20 χρόνια μετά και παρακολουθεί τη ζωή τους, ανασκοπώντας παράλληλα τα χρόνια που πέρασαν.Μου αρέσει πολύ η γραφή του Κόου και ίσως αδικείται σε ένα audio book, γιατί δε σου δίνεται εύκολα η ευκαιρία να ανατρέξεις σε προηγούμενες σελίδες ή να κρατήσεις σημειώσεις για κάτι που σου τράβηξε το ενδιαφέρον.Ο Κόου έχει την ικανότητα να σε εισάγει στο κλίμα της εποχής που περιγράφει, να σε κάνει να περιφέρεσαι μαζί με τους ήρωες του και να μοιράζεσαι τους προβληματισμούς τους. Θέματα όπως η οικογένεια, η πίστη στις αξίες, οι προσωπικές αποτυχίες και οι εμμονές, τα όνειρα που έμειναν όνειρα, αναπάντητα ερωτήματα που στοιχειώνουν ζωές, τοποθετούνται σε ένα διαχρονικό πολιτικό πλαίσιο, όπου ο αναγνώστης παρατηρεί τις αλλαγές της κοινωνικής δομής με αφορμή τις πολιτικές αποφάσεις της κυβέρνησης Μπλαιρ. Τα σχόλια του είναι πολλές φορές φαρμακερά και όχι απλώς αιχμηρά. Είναι όμως απολαυστικά. Αρκετές φορές γίνεται αφοριστικός αλλά και πάλι, ο τρόπος του είναι γοητευτικός. Πχ. σε κάποιο σημείο, δια στόματος ενός Πακιστανού μετανάστη, χρόνια εγκατεστημένου στο Μπέρμπινχαμ, αναρωτιέται για το δημοφιλές αμερικανικό σήριαλ, όπου οι 4 γνωστές σε όλους φίλες, συζητούν για τους αναρίθμητους εραστές τους και τον τρόπο/συχνότητα που τους αλλάζουν. Το σχόλιο αυτό έρχεται ως εύλογο ερώτημα για το πόσο προς το χειρότερο έχει αλλάξει η κοινωνία και παράλληλα συμπληρώνεται από παρατηρήσεις για την τάση ανάμιξης της αμερικανικής υπερδύναμης στα εσωτερικά πολλών χωρών. Στο τέλος ο μετανάστης αναφωνεί αγανακτισμένος ότι η εντύπωση του είναι ότι πρόκειται για ένα έθνος που απαρτίζεται από καουμπόυδες και πουτάνες.Ο Κόου ασχολείται όμως, εκτός από τους μεγαλωμένους ήρωες του, και με τη νέα γενιά, περιγράφοντας τη ως ώριμη και ως επιθυμούσα να πληροφορηθεί και να μάθει από το παρελθόν. Σημαντικό στοιχείο αυτό, αν λάβουμε υπόψη μας, το πόσο εγωιστική και αποστασιοποιημένη μοιάζει να είναι η νέα γενιά από την ιστορία. Οι χαρακτήρες περιγράφονται εξαιρετικά. Ιδιαίτερα ο χαρακτήρας του Μπέντζαμιν, αποδίδεται με όλη του τη θλίψη και μου έφερε στο μυαλό το στίχο του Κώστα Βάρναλη "Aχ, πού σαι, νιότη, πού δειχνες, πως θα γινόμουν άλλος!"Την ανατροπή στη σκιαγράφηση χαρακτήρα, την κάνει ο πολιτικός Πολ, ο οποίος περιγράφεται ως ένα ημιμαθές, αδιάφορο, εγωιστικό άτομο, για να καταλήξει σε κάποιον εντελώς διαφορετικό στο τέλος και είναι πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα η κλιμάκωση που πετυχαίνει ο συγγραφέας. Εκτός από το Μπέρμπινχαμ, οι ήρωες του Κόου, ζουν και κινούνται στο Λονδίνο αλλά και σε μέρη όπως ένα χωριό της Δανίας, τη Γερμανία και τη Γαλλία. Μάλιστα, στους βράχους του Ετρετά, κάποιοι από τους ήρωες βρίσκονται σε μια κρίσιμη καμπή της ζωής τους και έρχονται αντιμέτωποι με όλα όσα τους βασανίζουν και ζητούν απαντήσεις ή αλλαγές.Πολύ καλή η ανάγνωση από την Εύα Φωτεινιά.

  • Jim
    2019-04-06 21:42

    Coe writes about frustration - professional, creative, and sexual; frustrations in relationships and a loss of faith amidst the crumbling of personal verities. It can be a little depressing, but it's also cathartic and very, very compelling, with a subtle humor rooted in a very dark sense of irony. His books are perfect for those of us who have reached a certain age, who suspect that the world is broken and who are looking for the words to describe a creeping sense of malaise.Like all of Coe's novels, politics is always in the background as a negative force. The interplay, both indirect and overt, of politics and individual lives creates an underlying sense of powerlessness. In this book, the politics are those of New Labour, which Coe portrays as empty and vacuous, based mainly on selfishness. In Tony Blair's Britain, words can mean whatever one wants them to mean and political beliefs are completely malleable. The people with access to media and power get to define their actions. Dropping bombs on Iraqis is good for them. Throwing thousands of people out of work for the profit of a few investors benefits the common good. Racial intolerance is a form of love for humankind. Through it all, Coe's characters struggle to find meaning in their lives, while politicians speak in meaningless cliches, often as a cover for policies that destroy the social environment which might make a good life possible.One defense aginst this state of affairs is to withdraw into a nostalgia for the lost hope and idealism of youth, but nostalgia has its dark side, made up of obsession and regret. The characters in this book are all plagued by an inability to let go of memories, dreams, or relationships dating back twenty years. One man is obsessed by a lost, idealized love. A woman is haunted by her sister who disappeared. Another man is depressed by the loss of a career. The title Closed Circle refers, in part, to the search, often futile, to achieve closure and move on. One character says that closure is a mirage, that the best we can hope for is to struggle on. Still, some people manage to close the circle, but one is left to wonder whether they are any better off as a result.

  • Ana Carvalheira
    2019-04-15 21:39

    “O Círculo Fechado” constitui uma narrativa superlativamente inteligente e bem construída, quer do ponto de vista da estruturação literária, quer da ação, dos temas que aborda, prenhes de contemporaneidade, vistos, analisados, experienciados por um grupo de personagens notáveis!Em plena era Tony Blair e do Labour Party, numa Inglaterra neoliberal, Claire, Benjamin, Paul, Doug, Steve, todos colegas na mesma escola quando adolescentes, relatam-nos, passados vinte e cinco anos, o seu dia-a-dia, os seus ensejos, as expectativas criadas e aquilo que, de facto, vieram a construir, as frustrações profundas, os seus desgostos e alegrias, os seus sucessos e tentativas entre histórias de separação e reconciliação, de dor e mágoa, de procura e esperança.De Jonathan Coe lera “A Chuva Antes de Cair”, narrativa essa que muito me impressionou e “O Círculo Fechado” não desiludiu, muito contrário, fez-me acreditar que este autor corre sérios riscos de, por unanimidade dos seus leitores, ser considerado um dos mais proeminentes romancistas ingleses, cuja obra vale a pena abordar na sua totalidade.Com um misto daquele humor extremamente refinado, próprio dos ingleses, JC oferece-nos várias experiências sensoriais, muito próprias do seu estilo literário. O episódio em que Benjamin se hospeda num mosteiro na Normandia, fez-me recuar, com enorme felicidade à minha própria experiência junto dos monges cistercienses de La Osera, Espanha, onde fiquei hospedada uma semana, numa espécie de retiro espiritual e, ao mesmo tempo, de local de pesquisas e investigações. E o que este livro fez-me rememorar com intensa alegria foi, justamente, a participação nas Completas, quando nos reuníamos com os monges no coro da igreja do mosteiro cantando a última oração do dia. Comovia-me às lágrimas porque a música, as palavras de louvor a Deus, conjugadas com uma luz crepuscular e com um ambiente extraordinariamente contemplativo, elevavam-me a uma espécie de celestial incorporeidade. Foi uma das experiências mais marcantes que tive e agradeço a Deus, ou ao Universo, ou a uma entidade qualquer superior ter tido a oportunidade de usufruir de toda a sua beleza!Mas, para quem não fruiu tais sensações, “O Círculo Fechado” oferece outras também elas emotivas, sinceras com uma profundidade própria que nos atinge pois vivemos épocas, infelizmente, de profunda consternação.É mais um daqueles livros que chegamos ao fim com muita, imensa pena … Por isso, vou colocar "The Rotter's Club" na minha lista "to read"que se assume como uma primeira parte de "O Círculo Fechado".

  • ☙ percy ❧
    2019-04-20 18:24

    things i hope this book addresses: 1) how much of an absolutely shitty time paul trotter has been having2) MIRIAM?!?!?3) if cicely is not married with a wife and having a really nice life then i'm rioting 4) is benjamin still a lameass motherfucker?? god i hope so5) HOW IS LOIS ?!?!?!?!?!

  • T4ncr3d1
    2019-04-07 17:18

    "Le parole possono avere il significato che vuoi, nell'era dell'ironia."La banda dei brocchi incontra la famiglia Winshaw: e il cerchio finalmente si chiude.Sebbene sia ormai aduso alla narrativa di Coe (e anzi, forse proprio per questo) mi risulta particolarmente difficile recensire questo romanzo. O anche soltanto scegliere il giusto giudizio. Forse, a ben vedere, è ancora troppo forte e troppo nitido il ricordo de La banda dei brocchi, che mi aveva esaltato e affascinato. E in questo romanzo, che ne è il naturale seguito, sparisce la poesia dell'adolescenza per lasciar posto all'insicurezza e alla frustrazione dell'età adulta: e un po' mi dispiace.Dunque: più che cinque, facciamo che sono quattro stellette e mezzo.Dopotutto, questo romanzo ha ben poco da invidiare al resto della produzione di Coe. Chiunque lo leggesse come primo romanzo ne rimarrebbe del tutto affascinato, perché ricorrono, immancabili, tutti i vezzi ed i pregi dello stile narrativo di Coe: la profondissima caratterizzazione dei personaggi, una magistrale regia di voci e personaggi, l'ottima cura nel dipingere il contesto temporale del romanzo, con annessi i problemi socio- culturali (qui: i primi anni Duemila, il neolaburismo, l'11 settembre, la guerra in Iraq), la mescolanza di testi metanarrativi (lettere, articoli, poesie, etc.) e infine il suo principale marchio di fabbrica: l'uso di un'ironia molto raffinata (e molto british).E un romanzo simile, non poteva che chiudersi con un finale perfettamente circolare, che si ricollega all'incipit de La banda dei brocchi. The circle is closed: davvero.

  • Tiziana
    2019-04-09 23:15

    Aw, Paul Trotter, what have you turned into...In this follow up to The Rotters' Club Paul's character is the only one that I really struggled to reconcile with his younger version in the former book. The 'creepy little thing' turned MP for New Labour has lost a lot of his scariness and become a laughable figure. A bit of disappointment there is inevitable, for a lover of black humour like me.In fact, a lot of the characters haven't (yet) fulfilled the promises they had as teenagers, and we find them twenty-five years or so down the line struggling to scrape even for a little bit of contentment. Disillusioned, bitter, somewhat tired, it is indeed somewhat saddening to read about the many ways in which life has made all of them somewhat unhappy.It is, however, a hugely entertaining, funny, well crafted book, In fact, a lot of the characters haven't (yet) fulfilled the promises they had as teenagers, and we find them twenty-five years or so down the line struggling to scrape even for a little bit of contentment. Disillusioned, bitter, somewhat tired, it is indeed somewhat saddening to read about the many ways in which life has made all of them somewhat unhappy.It is, however, a hugely entertaining, funny, well crafted book, in which Jonathan Coe's skills as a narrator, as a master of plots, conjure up a novel of many impossible coincidences and surprises, spiced with warming humour and humanity. And a novel that, despite its lighter tone at times, has indeed a lot to say about today's Britain, about politics and people, and about life, in general.I have read this book at a moment when I needed something to distract my mind from things that were not going so well in my own life - and Heaven knows how many times I have thanked God that Jonathan Coe exists whilst I was reading it! His books might not save your life, but they will certainly help you recover some of that faith in it that we all need to get by.

  • Ophelinha
    2019-03-30 19:25

    Coe remains one of the greatest critics of the British society

  • Derek Baldwin
    2019-04-18 21:25

    This is a well-written and thoughtful book but it has little of the emotional depth of The Rotters Club and very few laugh-aloud moments. As a document of its time (the early 00's) it isn't especially resonant either. But I was glad to be able to find out the fate of Miriam, grim thought it was, as well as the later lives of the principal characters from the earlier novel. And it was enjoyable to finally read some of Benjamin's, ahem, poetry.Part of what made The Rotters Club such fun was the range of ways in which Coe told the story, but this is much less in evidence here. An occasional epistolary section, an entry in a visitors' book, otherwise it's straightforward stuff. There's nothing wrong with that but the author is capable of being much more creative and it leads me to conclude, perhaps unfairly, that this was a rushed chore of a book rather than a labour of love. But recommended all the same.

  • Agatha
    2019-03-29 23:42

    I love love loved The Rotter's Club and this sequel/ending to the saga of British youth during the tumultuous 70s/80s fell flat. Some surprises of incest and religious zeal...but not worth it. You're better off imagining an ending for these characters yourself!

  • Tittirossa
    2019-03-30 17:31

    Coe sa costruire intrecci decisamente complessi con grande economia narrativa. Alcune coincidenze sono un po' forzate, ma se si considera l'affresco dell'epoca gli si possono perdonare questi "trucchetti".

  • elliepe
    2019-04-09 21:33

    (Δεν ξέρω γιατί μπαίνω στον κόπο να βάλω αστέρια)

  • Natalie
    2019-04-06 16:29

    This book, in conjunction with The Rotters' Club, was awesome. I was surprised at how moved I found myself while reading both. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Coe's work.

  • Ian Mapp
    2019-04-02 17:42

    Where to start with a beast of a book like this. In retrospect, it appears to be larger than it actually was - so many characters and so much stuff is in it.A sequel to the excellent Rotters club, it has most of the same characters. All of them in their 40s and disappointed by life.In very much the same vein as the RC - politics and personal lives intertwine. So much so that one of the Trotters is a blairite MP which gives the author plenty of chance to comment of the Iraq war, terrorism (very accuracte predications) and other stuff closer to home, such as the rover group selling out.The trotters are involved in a love triangle with a young reseacher called Malvina - Ben introduces her to his MP brother for them to start an initially platonic affair, which turns sexual and requires that the MP resigns. Here is the twist, wrapped up in the last 30 pages. Malvina is actually Ben's daughter with Cicely. This is interesting and is actually well explained (she sort out Ben as someone who made her mother happy - without knowing that he was her father). They continue the affair and the moral and legal implications of a Uncle and Neice fucking are never explained.There are some great set pieces, with one about a swear box and Journalist Doug who hears that he is to become a literary editor for his newspaper, responding with And political columnist Doug is given a new job by his editor, for which, mystifyingly, he doesn't feel much gratitude: "LITERARY - F*KING - EDITOR... The c*s. The f*king, f*king, f*king, f*king, f*king, f*king C*S !". His daughter picks up on this and with her lisp it makes for very entertaining reading.There is drama, as claire tracks down the guy who may have been responsible for her sisters death. Although when she finds the truth, that she was murdered, it kind of fizzles out.The only thing that was slightly annoying was the co-incidence side of things with MP Trotter flying to norway to see the boy who he saved from drowning in the first book who now just happens to be on the board at BMW.Plot devices like this annoy me.All in all, a sprawling and ambitious book with usual humour and local references that we would expect. Possibly the best read for a while.

  • Stefano Zorba
    2019-04-01 16:29

    La banda dei brocchi di Jonathan Coe si legge tutto d'un fiato.Ci si appassiona alle vicende, si vuole sapere ad ogni costo come finiranno le storie di questi adolescenti che sono la scusa di un affresco preciso dell'Inghilterra degli anni Settanta.Grande è la gioia quando alla fine una nota dell'autore preannuncia che ci sarà un seguito intitolato "Circolo chiuso".Purtroppo devo dire che questo seguito non è all'altezza delle aspettative.Benjamin Trotter nonostante sia sposato non ha dimenticato la sua vecchia fiamma Cicely, fa il commercialista e il suo vecchio romanzo sembra chiuso a chiave per sempre in un cassetto, mentre il fratello Paul è sempre più egoista e sempre più assetato di potere.Su questo sfondo si muove l'Inghilterra degli anni Novanta, tra Londra e Birmingham, e nonostante le pennellate di Coe non perdano vigore, non riusciamo più ad affezionarci ai personaggi, che ci rimettono forza, sogni e compassione.Intendiamoci, il libro non è scritto male. Anzi, tutto il contrario. Ma i colpi di scena ci fanno precipitare in un baratro di tristezza e di delusione, dopo averli seguiti, incoraggiati ed ammirati nel libro precente.Come se quegli adolescenti, una volta cresciuti, fossero diventati degli odiosi burattini del sistema, privi di speranze; come se si fossero accontentati delle vite che gli sono crollate addosso invece di cercarsi la grande vita, il grande amore, la realizzazione dei loro desideri. Come se si fossero accontentati.Ma forse è proprio questa la forza di questo romanzo: spesso le premesse di grandi esistenze che vediamo in molti adolescenti, magari anche in noi stessi alla magnifica età di 18-19 anni, crollano con il tempo... Si scende a patti con la vita, e la vita vuole sempre un prezzo, più o meno salato a seconda di quello che si chiede.Non so se consigliarvi di leggerlo, o lasciarvi nell'ignoranza di sapere cosa diventano da grandi i protagonisti della Banda dei Brocchi. Forse ne rimarrete delusi. Spesso è la vita stessa a farlo. A deludere, intendo.

  • Francesca
    2019-04-06 22:16

    Questo libro è il seguito de "La banda dei brocchi". I due libri sono da leggere in sequenza dal momento che "Circolo chiuso", oltre a trattare di tutti i personaggi de "La banda dei brocchi", è imprescindibile dagli eventi avvenuti nel volume precedente.Sono entrambi due libri scritti in modo impeccabile. Ho apprezzato molto il fatto che, all'interno di uno stesso volume, Coe usi diversi metodi di narrazione. Anche il fatto che la narrazione non sia solo ed esclusivamente lineare rende più intrigante la lettura.I personaggi sono veramente ben delineati e l'autore riesce ad arrivare davvero al fulcro delle loro personalità. Coe è straordinario nella sua abilità di rappresentare l'anima dei personaggi in momenti così diversi della loro vita (l'adolescenza e la maturità).A voler essere precisi fino in fondo, nonostante abbia dato ad entrambi i libri 4 stelline, devo ammettere che questo secondo volume ha incontrato meno la mia approvazione. Ho voluto assegnare comunque lo stesso voto, positivo, ad entrambi i romanzi perché questo mio minor apprezzamento (si tratta davvero di una sfumatura) è dovuto soprattutto a due fattori strettamente soggettivi: (view spoiler)[ la frequente presenza del personaggio di Paul (non lo potevo soffrire già ne "La banda dei brocchi" quindi, questa sua promozione tra i personaggi principali, è stata una vera tortura) e la scelta di introdurre la componente "incestuosa" tra Paul e Malvina (sinceramente mi è parsa un po' una scelta stile soap opera che ho trovato stonata rispetto allo stile dei libri e che mi ha lasciato un po' l'amaro in bocca).(hide spoiler)]Complessivamente comunque consiglio la lettura di entrambi i romanzi perché Coe è magistrale nel restituire il ritratto delle due epoche in cui le vicende si svolgono (gli anni '70 per "La banda dei brocchi" e gli anni a cavallo dell'inizio del nuovo millennio per "Circolo chiuso").

  • Lorenzo Berardi
    2019-04-20 22:31

    The Closed Circle is the follow-up of The Rotters Club characters' story twenty five years later on paper. In the real world three years are passed by between the release of the two books.Well, the question is: what's happened to Jonathan Coe in the meanwhile? Apparently he has lost his touch in just a few dozens months.Where The Rotters Club was funny and ironic, The Closed Circle is merely ambitious. Where The Rotters Club was sensible and melancholic, The Closed Circle is unemotional.The same idea to begin the novel with a long and frankly quite boring letter from an idyllic Italy is poor. For those who had liked The Rotter Club from its very first pages finding an immediate empathy toward the three main characters, this second book will probably be a delusion.The old characters are now in their fourties and it seems they don't have anything more to say. Perhaps all has been said about them. The only exception to this unwanted rule is Paul Trotter who has became a young and paranoid MP. It's a pity that the half metamorphosis of Trotter jr is quite unrealistic. Ok, there's a social critic to the New Labour Party political issues, but how it could be possible that Tories like Paul have become Tonies?This is not explained at all. And at this point the twenty five years blackhole chosen by Coe reveals its biggest Achille's heel.What about the new characters? I've to admit that they haven't left a single trace in me.Briefly, I've been really disappointed by this novel. I've got the English edition of the book and this is the only reason why I still put my eyes on it. But my opinion remains the same: what a pity.

  • Elsa
    2019-03-27 18:44

    Ceux qui étaient passés à côté de leurs rêves.Voici la suite de l'excellent Bienvenue au club, qui nous plongeait dans la jeunesse des années 70. Si Bienvenue au club avait une petite touche de folie et de frivolité, le goût est cette fois-ci plus amer et nous place dans la noirceur des années récentes. Cette suite est plus critique et acerbe, n'hésitant à écorner la politique de Tony Blair. Aujourd'hui, cette jeunesse a 45 ans, s'est dégarnie et a pris du ventre. Nous retrouvons avec plaisir nos personnages et découvrons que la vie n'a pas été idyllique pour tous. Si Paul est devenu un politicien ambitieux, son frère et les amis de ce dernier semblent plutôt vivre la crise de la quarantaine. Ruptures conjugales, solitudes, échec de la création littéraire, c'est la décennie de de la désillusion pour ceux qui avaient rêvé leur futur dans les années 1970. Le roman fait entrevoir les choix des personnages, leurs conséquences et dévoile les mystères du passé.Si le roman est un peu moins palpitant et moins entrainant, on apprécie cette ode à des personnages qui semblent fuir leur vie et tenter désespérément de poursuivre leurs rêves.

  • Boyd
    2019-04-17 19:22

    Big and shapeless. At the end of THE ROTTERS' CLUB--which I liked--Coe indicated that the book's many questions and unfinished narratives would be elucidated and/or resolved in the sequel, but apparently the thing got away from him, and after a strong beginning, the story grows increasingly bloated and meandering. People keep disappearing for months or years and reappearing suddenly and going off on underexplained junkets and brooding tragically (and endlessly) about their unhappy lives while tut-tutting their friends' unrealized potential. Even Paul, so promisingly sinister in his youth, turns out to be nothing more special than a sneak and a hypocrite. As the narrative proceeds Coe seems to grow increasingly desperate about how to tie everything up, and absurd coincidences and "dark secrets" proliferate at a rate seldom seen outside of soap-opera land. (Coe is a real coincidence man, as readers of THE HOUSE OF SLEEP can attest.) The sex scenes are excruciating--especially one split-screen-type incident that toggles back and forth between a long-suffering wife decorating a Christmas tree and her husband getting it on with his mistress--and the incest theme is treated with particularly icky insouciance. These people need to go to the library and read some Greek tragedies

  • Karen
    2019-04-07 20:25

    I really liked this book, but found it less compelling than The Rotter's Club. I especially loved the story of Claire and Miriam, and thought that Claire's character and story were the highlights of the novel. Claire actually seemed so real to me that I can't stop thinking about her, several days after finishing the book. The Closed Circle was more sober than The Rotter's Club, which could have worked if the characters were more likeable. I was especially disappointed with the choices the author made about Benjamin's character - while I found him interesting and likeable in the first book, I thought he was insufferable in this one. I was also disappointed by the Malvina subplot - I thought her character was an unnecessary (and ultimately disturbing) distraction from the deeper and more complex themes of the novel.

  • Jim
    2019-04-15 18:44

    Hmmm. I liked this, really enjoying it, until I read some stinging criticisms of it on Amazon. And they were so true. The unbelievable coincidences; the near desperation to close circles left open from The Rotter's Club; the shallowness of some of the characters who seemed to be fleshed-out as opposed to fleshed-in from the first novel; the political posturing; the neo liberalism. All true. Once I was aware of them, the book went limp in my hands. It was all wrong. Fortunately I had only fifty pages to go by then, so I finished it. I'll read more Jonathon Coe, there's no doubt about that, but if there's a further novel about this set of characters it will be passing me by.

  • Atticus06
    2019-03-24 23:44

    Mi ha preso meno di La banda dei brocchi e penso che in alcune scelte sia un po' improbabile. Sono indeciso se definire il finale(il colpo di scena) un po' furbetto.Forse questo seguito non era necessario. Sembra che volesse dare un seguito alle storie di tutti ma la sensazione(personale) è che sia forzato.Mi ha ricordato un po' John Irving ma con meno ironia e meno trasporto.O forse sono io che voglio tenermi il ricordo ingenuo e fanciullesco dei ragazzi invece dei problematici e tristi adulti.

  • Holly
    2019-03-21 15:29

    I genuinely enjoyed this book - I loved getting back to the characters that had been so well developed in The Rotter's Club - but I can honestly not imagine enjoying this book without reading the prequel. The loose ends this book tied up were all started in the previous book. Only a few of the new issues were concluded in a satisfying way (the whole premise of this book seemed to be wrapping up the last book... and if that's what it was meant to be, then fine, but the plot of this book was just a little weak).

  • Johnlondesborough
    2019-03-25 21:29

    This sequel to the Rotter's Club was not as enjoyable for me as the Rotter's Club itself, perhaps because I'm old enough to remember the seventies (when RC happens) with nostalgia. But both books are really well written and their social comment on the changes (mostly sad) in Britain during my life time struck me as very acute.I don't know if books can do anything to improve society by making readers think about it, but if so The Rotter's Club and Closed Circle may do som good as well as being great reads.

  • Sera
    2019-04-01 19:32

    As if it is not depressing enough to see our beloved characters from the first book The Rotters' Club at annoying positions and bleak situations 30 years later (surely it was inevitable especially for Benjamin but some things should have stayed as unresolved issues because life is full of unresolved issues actually), we cannot see the humor of the first book at this sequel either and that's what disappointed me the most.

  • Kim
    2019-04-11 21:33

    A great sequel to The Rotters Club, continuing the story of Benjamin and Lois Trotter and their friends and family, resolving many of the issues left unresolved at the end of the first book. Great read - 9/10.

  • Paul The Uncommon Reader
    2019-04-01 16:21

    Middle age, disillusionment, decay, renewal, closure I had a strange experience when I initially started to read this book. I knew it was the sequel toThe Rotters’ Club– especially after I had read the author’s note – and that it only made sense to read it if I had read that first book. The thing was, I was convinced that Ihad read The Rotters’ Club, and it was only after reading the first ten pages or so of The Closed Circle that I realised this was making no sense. Why was this woman writing to her sister and expecting no reply, and why is she referring to these people under the assumption that I already know them? So I put it down, picked up The Rotters’ Club, totally loved it (reviewed elswhere on this site), then returned to The Closed Circle straight afterwards. The second book is not a loose sequel of the first; they are essentially two parts of the same book; you cannot make sense of the second if you have not read the first. The title The Closed Circle also describes the process of the two books, and you do not know which circle Coe refers to if you haven't read the first one: the end of the second book essentially closes the circle that was started in the first and hands the baton on to the next generation.That by way of introduction. Like most fellow Goodreads reviewers, I preferred The Rotters’ Club to The Closed Circle. Though I think it’s a little unfair to compare them, they being really two parts of the same story. Like another reviewer here, I am the same age as the characters (and, indeed, the author) – a teenager in the 70s and a jaded forty something in the noughties. So The Rotters’ Club was pure nostalgia for me; with its attention to historical (yes, I am old enough to use the word historical!) detail, it brought back memories and shod bright light on them. Yes, I cringed – tastes and fashions change… but I was so moved and transported back to my past that I totally loved it. Whereas (for me, being that age) The Closed Circle is about how it all panned out, about how those budding lives developed, how politics in Britain developed from Thatcher to Thatcher’s greatest achievement – New Labour. And mainly it’s about the disillusionment caused by the fact that in this life the good suffer and the bad prosper over us all. As personified in the two brothers: on the one hand Benjamin, whose creativity ends up in a cul-de-sac, whose love is unrequited and faith lost, and on the other the odious, cowardly, damaged, manic New Labour politician, Paul Trotter.The moral decay of a nation as charted by Coe consists mainly of the cloying, clammy, cowardly, ego/angst-driven, mendaciousness of its leaders, who end up saying anything and doing anything in order to keep their grubby hands on power. Because of these... lies, words lose their meaning and citizens become less and less the agents of politics and more and more the passive, uncritical consumers of it. It is this consumerisation, this “corporatisation” of Britain that disheartens Coe’s characters - the ones of my generation. (And, yes, I do relate to that – though, as the father of two teenagers, I try to be careful not to just fall into the trap of the generation gap, of claiming to represent a higher and more noble morality, and ignoring the progress or positives that younger generations bring to the table, too. Part of aging can easily be (and often is) feeling resentful that you’re being superceded, and one emotional reaction against that (perceived) rejection is, of course, very negative bitterness. Coe isn’t bitter, but I think he does lay on the moral decay thing a bit thick at times. New Labour comes in for a deep, resounding, heavy slamming in this book.)In addition to the "state of the nation" politics, the other strong element to these books is (are?) the wonderfully vivid, rounded, real, fallible... characters (though politics and the characters definitely interlace: politics are made by people, and politics shape people's lives – two facts that we have forgotten, I think). It is rare that I read a book and feel genuine emotions for its characters. Generally, I can never forget that what I’m reading is a fiction, that these people do not exist and thus, although I can relate to their actions and feelings, I can’t usually actually feel anything for them. But in this book, perhaps because the characters are so obviously my age and class, and their adolescence and middle-age so obviously close and similar to my own, I found myself really feeling for these people, er, characters. Benjamin with his pathos, his depression, his thwarted creativity and vulnerability; Paul’s cowardice and sad, ultimately empty ambition; Claire’s sensitivity and her poignant search for her lost sister; all the characters had a life and realism that I found very rare.One change that Coe observes that I am in deep agreement with is the idea that the world, or perhaps the ideas within it, the idelogies, has, or have, become much less easy to define. Edges that used to be sharp have become blurred. In the 70s, class barriers were brutally defined (and defining – you were basically either a posh Tory or a staunch, working-class Labour supporter. The struggles (battles!) between white- and blue-collar sections of the working population were not only epic, they were also very easy to understand. Britain was a divided nation, but you knew where you stood in it, because you (socially, politically) virtually always stood in the same place that you and your parents were born in it. Thatcher and Blair and their political class and generation played their roles in changing that, but the blur, the social mobility (that is driven by greed for money) has also been caused by (or even made, or maybe both) people who have become more restless, more fluid, more bendable. For a multitude of reasons, mainly to do with the increased wealth and power of the ruling classes, the collapse of Communism and the resultant, virtually global belief that unrestrained "market forces" will solve every problem from industrial relations and social inequality (easy, if "there is no such thing as society" - Margaret Thatcher) to monetary and even foreign policy – there was tacit agreement by a very significant majority that Iraq was necessary in order to keep the oil flowing and our insatiably greedy lifestyle possible (in the short term); for these reasons and many more, we have become these passive consumers, these puppet, unthinking agents of the conglommerate corporations that we so revere, or have been duped into revering. But it’s also that whole concepts have become fuzzy. In the 70s, there was a war in Ireland. A war between colonialists and anti-colonialists. You either wanted a united, Catholic, Gaelic Ireland tied to Dublin, or a divided one that had a province that was ruled by the minority of Protestants whose allegiance was to Britain, and to London in particular. Simple matter of allegiance, which, incidentally, was chosen for you by birth. Now we have a “War on Terror”. I don’t even know if my country ("my country"?! I am British, but have lived half of my life in Germany; my children are a mixture of cultures, as - due to globalisation - indeed are very many of their peers); I don't even know whether this set-up that they call a nation is even officially "at war", and if it is, whowith , exactly? And what for? I don’t personally believe that America’s fundamentalism is (with some exceptions, chiefly to do with the status of women) much fairer or more just than the Islamic variety. Certainly neither faction is striving for peace. More pertinently, as pointed out by Coe in the narrative, how can it be that the gap between British fascism and radical Islam is now, in some quarters at least, not very wide? Answer: certain factions of both groups see “eye-to-eye” in terms of laying down their differences and uniting in their toxic ideology of blatant anti-Semitism. So they join forces and argue for a state that smashes “Zionist-led”, “decadent”, “godless” capitalism and leads us all back to a "promised" land of their “(separate) cultural roots” in harmony with Nature and God (take your choice which one, I guess). I guess you could sell this to Communists, too... “sell” being the operative word, for that's what it's all about. Complex. Complex and convoluted. And dangerous. The Rotters’ Club is more fun than The Closed Circle, but then again, life as a teenager is, or was, more fun (especially in the 70s) than life as a restless, struggling forty-something. I was so involved with the politics and personal stories of the characters in the book that I didn’t actually notice some of the plot weaknesses that other reviewers have pointed out. But like I say, these two books are so close to my own personal development and life, that once they are keenly and intelligently observed and well written, which I think they are here, I cannot fail to be carried along with them and love them, can I? Though I do think that the next generation has much to offer, too.As does indeed Coe seem to, as I think the ending to The Closed Circle shows.

  • Fryke Koegler
    2019-03-25 17:28

    The Closed Circle tells a story around a group of people who all went to the same highschool (I believe the first book revolves around that time period) and are now in their 30s around the year 2000. They’ve all gone their separate ways, chose different jobs, got married or divorced.I think the beauty of this book lies in the simplicity of the story, there isn’t one big plot. There’s no big monsters that have to be fought, there’s no love triangle that runs the entire show. Well, there is one, but the story doesn’t revolve around just that. It is just about the ordinary lives of quite average people.Benjamin fell in love with a girl in highschool and never got over her, jeopardizing all of his future relationships and his marriage. His brother Paul became a Labour MP and tries to rise in the ranks of the party, whatever the cost some times. Doug works at a big newspaper, but is feeling unhappy with his place there. Claire married and divorced Phillip, moved to Italy, and is still trying to find out what actually happened to her sister Miriam.In the end, all of them find the peace in their minds and hearts. The circle closes.

  • jackie
    2019-04-08 22:30

    I really enjoy reading Jonathan Coe's novels, and The Closed Circle is definitely my favourite one. Together with The Rotters' Club, Coe actually write Benjamin's masterpiece, "Unrest". Music, storytelling, culture, political history, historical events intertwine in this novel, as they are supposed to do in Ben Trotter's unfinished masterpiece.The author tries to represent the uneasiness of an entire generation that has actually achieved and made their dreams come true, but at the same time lives together with this feeling of failure, lack of rightness, that leads the main characters to spoil not only their achievements but also their private life. Politics, historical and cultural events work not only as the background that explains the social unrest: they play a decisive role not only in the life of the Rotters' Club teenagers, but also in the definition and grounding of the contemporary society.