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Title : Rotters' Club
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670892525
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Rotters' Club Reviews

  • Anna
    2019-05-15 01:03

    Ένα βιβλίο για τη ζωή στην αγγλική επαρχία της δεκαετίας του 1970… Ε και; Τι με ενδιαφέρει εμένα να αυτό, δεδομένου ότι δεν είμαι ούτε ιστορικός (εντάξει, δεν μου φαίνεται τόσο μακρινή η δεκαετία του ’70, λαογράφος ας πω), ούτε Αγγλίδα (φτου μακριά), ούτε κοινωνιολόγος ή πολιτικός επιστήμονας για να ενδιαφέρει η εξέλιξη της κοινωνίας της Αγγλίας. Βασικά, πραγματικά, το θέμα του βιβλίου δεν με ενδιέφερε καθόλου…Αλλά, ο Coe είναι άπαιχτος. Πρωταγωνιστές είναι μια ομάδα έφηβων μαθητών που τους συναντάμε από το 1975 ως το τέλος του σχολείου και τα πρώτα εξάμηνα στο πανεπιστήμιο (από την Τρίτη ως την Έκτη τάξη, με αναλογίες δικές μας Β’ Γυμνασίου – Γ’ Λυκείου). Μαθαίνουμε τις αγωνίες, τα άγχη, τις επιτυχίες και τις αποτυχίες τους, καθώς ανδρώνονται (αγόρια και κορίτσια) σε κοινωνικά πλαίσια απεργιών, διαρκούς πολιτικής αστάθειας, ανόδου της ακροδεξιάς, του εθνικισμού, του συνδικαλισμού και της ροκ μουσικής. Μαθητές που ονειρεύονται να δημιουργήσουν το δικό τους συγκρότημα (και αποτυγχάνουν παταγωδώς), λατρεύοντας μπάντες που παίζουν στα μέρη τους, ονειρεύονται να δημιουργήσουν το δικό τους σχολικό περιοδικό (και προκαλούν πολλαπλά εγκεφαλικά στο διευθυντή του σχολείου τους) και φυσικά να δημιουργήσουν σχέσεις με το άλλο φύλο (πετυχημένα ή αποτυχημένα για τα αγόρια, γιατί για τα κορίτσια δεν τίθεται θέμα αποτυχίας, μόνο εναλλακτικής επιλογής!!!). Τον κόσμο των ενηλίκων τον βλέπουμε μέσα από τον κόσμο των γονέων, οι οποίοι επιδίδονται με μεγάλη επιτυχία σε μεγάλες μ@λ@κίες. Εξάλλου, όπως λέει και στο οπισθόφυλλλο «μια ιστορία με εφήβους που περνάνε καλά και ενηλίκους που περνάνε χάλια». Γλυκά ρομαντικό σε ορισμένα σημεία, κυνικά ρεαλιστικό σε άλλα, περιγράφει αυτό που λέμε c’est la vie. Επίσης, θυμηθείτε: Οι γονείς σας δεν ήταν πάντα τόσο ξενέρωτοι όσο είναι από τη στιγμή που γεννηθήκατε!!!!!Ανυπομονώ να διαβάσω το «Τι ωραίο πλιάτσικο» για τη δεκαετία του ΄80 και τον «Κλειστό Κύκλο» για τη δεκαετία του ’90. Γιατί, στην τελική το βιβλίο είναι ένα χρονογράφημα, γραμμένο με τέτοιον τρόπο που νομίζω ότι θα το διάβαζα ακόμα και αν αναφερόταν στο …. Τζιμπουτί!!!!

  • Chris_P
    2019-04-25 21:06

    It was the world, the world itself that was beyond his reach, this whole absurdly vast, complex, random, measureless construct, this never-ending ebb and flow of human relations, political relations, cultures, histories… How could anyone hope to master such things? It was not like music. Music always made sense. The music he heard that night was lucid, knowable, full of intelligence and humour, wistfulness and energy and hope. He would never understand the world, but he would always love this music. He listened to this music, with God by his side, and knew that he had found a home.There are two sides of England as far as I'm concerned. One which I love and one which I hate. The former includes things like being pretty much the birthplace of rock music, the weather, the literature, anti-comformism, great films and TV series etc. England gave birth to Banksy for fuck's sake! The latter I'd rather not talk about so let's leave it at that. The Rotters' Club has pretty much the very essence of all that I love in British culture. Now, I'm quite emotional at the moment so I don't think I can be very objective about it but this is one of the greatest modern novels I've ever read. It has an alternative way of narrating, a whole lot of musical as well as political and cultural references, the well-known witty British humor, characters that one can't help but care about and love (more on that in a second) all of which blend together in a multi-dimensional story full of twists and turns. What I particularly loved and was amazed by, was how Coe managed to make me laugh and one or two sentences after, make the hair on my whole body stand on end. At first it was a bit hard to keep track of all the characters, as Coe throws in names as if the reader's already familiar with them. That involves the risk of losing the readers' interest and/or get tangled among his very creations. But, not only does that not happen, I actually found it amazingly genius how he so succesfully pulled that trick. What's more, many as they are, each character is whole and unique and although the story mainly revolves around Benjamin, we are almost equally involved in everybody's lives.I was going to talk about the originality and uniqueness of Coe's plot mechanisms but fuck that. Let's talk about feelings. So many and so intense! Someone once told me that one should be thankful for everything one gets. Although things may not be exactly as we want them, there is a profit in everything life might throw in one's way. OK, you got me. Although this notion is one of the book's themes, it's more that I actually needed an excuse to mention it. Teenage angst, fear in front of social instability, envy and eventually love, the most romantic, perfect and magical kind of love, are only some of the feelings Coe portrays through his characters whom we watch as they grow up and develop their personalities.Times like this, I wish I had the eloquence to write the review The Rotters' Club deserves. It's one of those books that make you feel the need to give to someone special as a gift so that they feel what you felt and thus communicate with each other in the way only a book, a song and tears can provide.5 stars and a wish for more like this.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-05-13 04:03

    Telling his controversially romantic story Jonathan Coe is at the same time most ironic and nostalgic.When we grow up it seems to us that we live in the best of times. But reality may be quite different… And the middle of the seventies was the time of stagnation. “They sat and drank their pints. The tables in which their faces were dimly reflected were dark brown, the darkest brown, the colour of Bournville chocolate. The walls were a lighter brown, the colour of Dairy Milk. The carpet was brown, with little hexagons of a slightly different brown, if you looked closely. The ceiling was meant to be off-white, but was in fact brown, browned by the nicotine smoke of a million unfiltered cigarettes. Most of the cars in the car park were brown, as were most of the clothes worn by the patrons. Nobody in the pub really noticed the predominance of brown, or if they did, thought it worth remarking upon. These were brown times.”And even the flowery progressive rock – the main character’s favourite genre of music – was nothing but an emblem of escapism: ‘As the silence of seasons on we relive abridge sails afloat. As to call light the soul shall sing of the velvet sailors course on.’ Behind extravagance there is nothing but vacuity.“You don’t understand what these people are about. At least with Enoch Powell you’ve got some thought behind it, something you can argue with. Christ, even the National Front’s got an ideology. Of sorts. But these people… It’s just an instinct with them. It’s just hatred. Hatred and violence.”And periods of stagnation always are the most reactionary time.But anyway the time of our youth is the best time.

  • Homer
    2019-05-14 00:12

    Απρόσμενα καλό βιβλίο. Το περίμενα ως ένα κλασσικό μυθιστόρημα ενηλικίωσης, κάτι φίλοι στο σχολείο, τυπικά Αγγλάκια που μεγαλώνουν στο αυστηρό βρετανικό εκπαιδευτικό σύστημα. Βασικά είναι έναπολιτικόβιβλίο, σε μια ταραγμένη Αγγλία στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 70, εν μέσω απεργιών, και κλείνει με την άνοδο της Θάτσερ στην εξουσία. Οι ενήλικες, γονείς των παιδιών δουλεύουν σε ένα εργοστάσιο που απεργεί, και μεταξύ τους σχέσεις, μέσα σε μια Αγγλία που σείεται. Βιβλίο-μωσαϊκό (αφηγήσεις σε πρώτο και τρίτο πρόσωπο, αποσπάσματα από ημερολόγιο και σχολικές εφημερίδες κτλ) καταλήγει σε ένα από τα πιο πικρά φινάλε που έχω διαβάσει σε βιβλίο, μια απαισιόδοξη ματιά πως οι κοινωνικές τάξεις είναι φράγματα, για τελικά (view spoiler)[ ακόμα και αν είσαι καλός μαθητής και αθλητής σε καλό σχολείο (αλλά μαύρος) θα καταλήξεις στο ντόπιο fish and chips, ενώ ο άλλος στα 19 του θα καταλήξει να γνωμοδητήσει για το δάνειο σου, ενώ τον ακολουθούν λαμπρές σπουδές(hide spoiler)]Ειδική μνεία στον μεταφραστή Γιώργο Τσακνιά , με την μετάφραση-άθλο, αλλά και τις ενδιαφέροντες σημειώσεις στα ιστορικά γεγονότα της εποχής, καθώς και στο επίμετρο (τη συγγραφέα του οποίου δεν θυμάμαι), και γενικότερα στην προσεγμένη έκδοση από τις εκδόσεις Πόλις.

  • Taylor
    2019-05-01 04:17

    Much to my delight, this held up very strong on the second read. Before I re-read it, I browsed through some of the reviews others had written on this site, and it made me nervous - maybe I just loved this book so much because I was young and it's about youth, so I just connected to it out of a common vim and vigor.Not the case.Not only did I love it the second time around, I think I liked it even more.As much as I don't like to compare authors so much, I can't help but describe this as Rushdie meets McEwan. It's got the scope of Rushdie: ensemble "cast," intersecting story lines, his dark humor and his attention to politics. As far as McEwan, the novel is based around singular events and the way they effect the group of people, and it's got that same sort of darkness (much like McEwan, Coe isn't afraid to let bad things happen to his characters).The lead in is a bit confusing, but it starts off with two youngsters in the year 2000-something talking about the history of how their parents know each other. The girl tells the story she knows - which is basically the entire book. It tells of four young men in grade school in England who are close friends: Ben Trotter, Phillip Chase, Doug Anderton & Sean Harding. Ben Trotter and his family are the focus point for most of the story, but it rotates through each of the characters, as well as a few peripherals - their parents, their teachers, their significant others. It takes us through illicit affairs, politics (the IRA, socialists, unions, riots, terrorism), school rivalries, school crushes, and more.The short of it is that this is a coming of age story, but it's not just that: as I said, the scope of this is pretty huge, and even though character development is the driving force behind the story, there's just so much going on overall, though not enough to be distracting or confusing (he's bested Rushdie in that regard, but his scope is also a little more focused).Coe does a really wonderful job at developing his characters, even the ones who don't get a long time to narrate to us. Someone on this site said they didn't care about the characters, but I can't imagine that. Benjamin in particular is easy to relate to, with his obsessive crush on the most popular girl in school, yearnings to be a writer, confusion about politics and love of music.Coe also has a fantastic sense of humor - it's very diverse, ranging from the dark to the slapstick. Some of the most memorable moments come from it.The only thing that irked me on this read was the end of the "story" section. It's basically stream of consciousness from Benjamin's point of view, so there are no pauses, just one long run-on sentence. It's a little exhausting to read.Otherwise, I fell in love with this book all over again.

  • Eleni
    2019-05-14 03:24

    ‘Great guy wishes groovy chick to write, into Tull, Pink Floyd, 17-28.’‘Wanted girl friend, any age, but 4 ft. 10 in. or under, all letters answered.’“Guy, 18, cat lover, seeks London chick, into Sabbath. Only Freaks please.”“Freaky Guy (20) wants crazy chick (16+) for love. Into Quo and Zep”Leeds boy with scooter, looks OK, seeks girlfriend 17-21 for discos, concerts. Photo appreciated[Note: the above are quotations from genuine lonely hearts advertisements in Sounds (1973)]Why the hell had I not read any of Jonathan Coe’s books earlier??It’s totally my fault of course, because friends and people with similar interests in literature to mine had already told me, ages ago, that I’d love him, and I suppose I did believe them, but I couldn't imagine he would be of the mindblowing kind, which - it seems - he absolutely is. In this book Jonathan Coe writes as if he was always destined to become an author; he’s that talented! The Rotters’ Club is a novel about England in the 70s; under the shadow of the IRA, the miners’ strike and power cuts, socialists and far right populists, youth school rivalries within an environment of a “malign, inexorable divisiveness” and teenage angst, blue and white collars and social class differences and music, music, MUSIC.. there’s A LOT of music in this book, which I can never resist anyway, but the really cool thing about Jonathan Coe – as if his being a fantastic author isn't enough already - is that he knows what he’s talking about. That was the age of punk rock and prog rock gods wannabes, eager to “push back the boundaries of the three-chord song” and The Rotters’ Club nails it, like it nails any issue that it deals with really.Because, mind you; this is a book with a lot of music; not about music. The Rotters’ Club works as a brilliant politically charged, opinionated and spot on (again; he knows his stuff) satirical commentary on the rebellious and existential 70s. It’s also very moving, romantic, full of emotion.‘my paragon, callipygic enchantress, apogee of all that is pulchritudinous in this misbegotten, maculate world, will the truculent forces of peripeteia ever vouchsafe us the sweet euphoria of sybaritic congress?’Top this all up with a FANTASTIC sense of humour too. This is one entertaining book with numerous laugh out loud elegantly funny moments, that get stuck in your head.I mean, I can't stop giggling: The boys attempted to form an art-rock band, which had to have a Tolkienesque name of course. Following some quite serious and heavy brainstorming, “Minas Tirith” was ditched in favour of “Gandalf’s Pikestaff”, only to be ditched altogether as a project THE SAME DAY IT WAS FORMED, in favour of the punk oriented “The Maws of Doom” band. Obviously, that was all put down on paper, because the band would change music progression; isn't that what raw teenage angst is all about? I’m convinced. And come on. That chat on the Cold War..‘Why is Berlin divided, anyway?’ Philip asked. ‘I've always wondered that.’‘I don't know… I suppose there’s a river through the middle of it, isn't there? Like the Thames. I expect it’s the Danube or something.’‘I thought it was something to do with the Cold War.’‘Maybe.’…….‘What’s it all about, though, the Cold War? I mean, why’s it called the Cold War in the first place?’‘Well,’ said Benjamin, struggling to raise some interest in this topic, ‘I expect it is very cold in Berlin, isn't it?’‘But it’s all to do with America and Russia, I thought.’Well it’s definitely cold in Russia. Everybody knows that.’‘And why’s it called Watergate? What’s President Nixon supposed to have done?’‘I don't know.’To sum up, The Rotters’ Club is an extremely RICH reading experience. Jonathan Coe plays with words like it’s not even a big deal. Just when you think you finally get and enjoy the writing style and the narrative, BAM he throws at you a river of screaming poetry that is both delicate and intense and leaves you stunned basically. Ace.

  • Georgina Koutrouditsou
    2019-04-26 03:04

    Να και εγώ στον γνώριμο κόσμο-για πολλούς-του Τζόναθαν Κόου.Και τελικά όσοι μου το έλεγαν είχαν δίκιο,αξίζει.Πολύ!Υπέροχος λόγος και μετάφραση,αρχικά.Το περιεχόμενο με μετέφερε σε περιοχές και ιστορίες που δεν ήξερα.Επίσης όλο το βιβλίο έχει μουσικές και αυτό το κάνει μοναδικό,με τις υποσημειώσεις του.Επίσης εξαιρετικό το επίμετρο-σχόλιο μιας εποχής άγνωστης στην χώρα μας.Αλήθεια,πόσο φωτίζεται η βρετανική κοινωνία μέσω του Κόου;Πολύ,θα έλεγα.Οπότε συνεχίζω δυναμικά στον κόσμο του Κόου,καθώς μάλλον προβλέπεται φθινοπωρο-χειμώνας με τα βιβλία του:-)

  • Giorgeliot
    2019-05-18 22:23

    Ha retto.

  • Ophelinha
    2019-05-07 21:56

    My second reading of The Rotters' club has made me notice so many little things I had somehow missed the first time round. This is Coe at his sharpest, unveiling inconvenient sides of England - the elitism, the socialStratification, the racism, the destruction of welfare state under Thatcher, the war conducted against trade unions - the dark side of a country I have come to love so much, told by characters who stick with the reader long after the novel has been finished and put back in the shelf. More of this Coe, we need it, now more than ever. The maws of doom are uncomfortably close.

  • Nasia
    2019-05-21 01:10

    One thing is certain: I thoroughly enjoy reading everything written by Coe, his prose is to the point, cynical and very very British! I learned quite a lot about Britain in the 70's and I absolutely loved the longest English sentence, comprising of 13,955 words.

  • Jackie Molloy
    2019-04-30 21:23

    The Trotter family, Mum – Sheila, Dad – Colin children Ben going to King William’s , Lois working and Paul still at school, are the central group who see new people come and go through the years as they work, play, study and fight. Ben’s friends Philip Chase and Dougie Anderton are at the same school so depending upon their particular likes and dislikes, get involved with the music scene often quoting the NME (New Musical Express), the school magazine, the fights, the way life moves and bends them, the clothes, the hair, the pubs, the holiday in Holland, the difference of the approach to the German lads and the Dutch boys whose mother, a Jew, is no longer with them because of the War in Europe whilst Ben and Paul seem to have little understanding of the resonance that ordinary people felt when they were evacuated from Holland and Sweden. The terrible effect of the IRA bomb on Lois when she lost the love of her life, Malcolm, when she was so young and the impact her illness had on Ben, a teenager, as he visited her in hospital after Malcolm had died. They never seemed to be any problem with finances, none of the boys had part-time jobs or watched the telly or had family time – there was a concentration on school and how they reacted to situations with nothing else seeming to matter which is how youth is although it was interesting how Bill got rid of the Sugar Plumb Fairy and took to expanding his vocabulary.An interesting way to learn about history and national issues which impact on local issues. Things that tend to get forgotten as each twenty-four hours rush by and we are all too busy to recall or remember. History is now!!The novel was set in Northfield between 15th November 1973 and Election Day early May 1979 and it makes even the number 62 bus a bit of a character. The British Leyland Motor Corporation, Longbridge, employed Ben and Dougie’s fathers and indirectly employed Sam Chase the coach driver and Philip’s dad. The boys went to the fictitious King William’s Grammar School in Edgbaston after passing their 11+ and became members of the Rotter’s Club. The son of a junior manager and the son of a union rep, both at the same school. Was the class war really dying? It was so interesting to see how things expected to happen in 1973 and in reality how it actually worked out in 2003 when the novel was written. How some things have no ending - the mystery goes on forever as in the case of Miriam (Claire’s sister) – as does the IRA pub bombing – never any answers only questions. The new system of management and workers (elected representatives) on the board - what happened to that? I guess we shut the factories. Was Michael Edwards ‘hero or devil incarnate?’ Did the strike at Grunswick make any difference although it was a very good ploy to introduce the Dutch holiday photographs? Yes a novel that has left an impression, and I would like to know what happens to these characters although we know the No62 still runs along the Bristol Road.The ending is totally exuberant with Ben looking so much to the future, so happy in his relationship with Cecily, wanting to laugh all the time ‘can life get any better' - so very happy, so infectious – even when Sam Chase (Doug’s father) who is reading Ulysses in the Grapevine, say to him on Election Day 1979 ‘that women will never be Prime Minister of this country’ and twenty four hours later Thatcher was in at No 10. What a year!! Steve the loser who shouldn’t be a loser and Culpepper who was a loser but got all the right grades. As Ben and Philip agree when they get their exam results ‘life stinks, doesn’t it’. That is life with all its ups and downs – always has been – always will be – same old, same old! Yes – I would recommend to a friend. A book I would like to read next is: The Closed Circle – sequel to the Rotter’s Club.

  • Justin Evans
    2019-05-17 23:58

    This gave me almost everything I want. What do I want from a novel? I want it funny but sincere; hard-nosed but sentimental; readable but formally interesting; restrained but also balls to the wall. Ideally it'll be concerned with social events while grounding them in personal lives. RC isn't laugh out loud funny, but it's pretty funny. I felt a bit bad laughing at people who get excited at the culinary possibilities of sour cream and sometimes Coe takes too many cheap shots of the 'boy the seventies sure produced some ugly haberdashery' type; I wish he'd spent more time on the ugliness of the decade's politics than of its drapes. It's sincere, too; anytime an author can make me feel sorry for the coming of punk because it meant the end of grandiose prog-crap is obviously doing something pretty impressive with his characters. Given all of this, the flaws are pretty minor: the last chapter, which wikipedia tells me included for some short time the longest single sentence in English literature, is a bit jarring. It's impressive, and it works, but after the clarity and simplicity of the prose up to that point it's hard to see why that sentence was necessary. A bit too tour-de-forceish, to be honest. I also feel like the book was both a bit slippery and a bit too black and white. Labor unions are good, and government help for the poor is good. Agreed. But the unions in the seventies weren't exactly model unions, and the UK Labour party of the seventies wasn't ideal either; Coe's also a bit too quick to assimilate punk with Thatcherism. Finally, the framing narrative is either unnecessary (if it doesn't return in the sequel, which I haven't read) or poorly executed. Also [PLOT SPOILER!], Benjamin's de-conversion, if you can call it that, is ham-fisted and stupid. All of that said, it's such a relief to read a book by an author who is able to reflect critically on the art of fiction and to reach the conclusion that fiction and narrative are not only not lies, but the most important things in the world. I should add that if Coe ever wanted to write an entire library of books in the voice of Harding, he should go right ahead, and I'll dedicate the rest of my life to reading them. I just wish he'd featured more in this novel.

  • Paolo
    2019-05-25 03:19

    Il club dei rotter (il titolo originale, preso in prestito da una canzone, è un gioco di parole con il cognome della famiglia del protagonista principale del romanzo, Benjamin Trotter) lascia soddisfatti a metà. Forse perché il libro è di fatto un incompiuto, separato artificialmente dal suo seguito naturale (pubblicato poi in Circolo chiuso), ma il sapore che resta al termine della lettura copre, fino quasi a sfumarlo, il gusto di aver assistito a un maestoso, cupo affresco dell'Inghilterra degli anni settanta. Gli scioperi, gli attentati dell'Ira, il punk, il razzismo strisciante, i prodromi del tatcherismo ("quella donna non diventerà mai primo ministro"). Il tutto visto dalla prospettiva del King William, la scuola elitaria di Birmingham, dove le tensioni sociali dell'epoca non impediscono la formazione di un pensiero unico che unisce i figli di dirigenti di aziende che si preparano a licenziamenti di massa ai figli di sindacalisti che hanno perso tutte le loro battaglie, compresa quella del futuro. Nell'intreccio delle storie dei protagonisti con la Storia, un intreccio alimentato da un mix brillante di fonti reali con altre di pura fiction, stanno le pagine più riuscite del romanzo.

  • Tahira
    2019-05-10 20:06

    It took me at least 100 pages to finally settle into The Rotter's Club. It certainly does not fit the kind of profile of book that I tend to read, but I was feeling a little uninspired and this book was recommended to me.It was hard to keep track of the layered plot lines initially, but I eventually got a hold of them. I also felt as though I would have been better equipped had I known more about Britain during the 1970s. But there was something charming about a lot of the characters, perhaps because earnest and thoughtful adolescent male protagonists have unfortunately been hard to come by, in my experience. The novel also felt very sincere, and I appreciated that quite a bit. I was surprised by Coe's choice in endings, though. The last narrative of the book is somewhat strangely-timed, disjointed and fairly anticlimactic considering how much ground readers have covered by the novel's conclusion. I'd be interested in seeing how this is accounted for in the sequel to The Rotter's Club, but I am not sure if I liked the novel enough to pursue it again.

  • Neil Fox
    2019-05-14 22:21

    In physical years, the 1970's are closer to the end of WW2 than they are to where we sit today in 2017. But as a State of mind, the 70's seem light years away, an anomaly of a Decade or a unique State of Mind that was very different to the Swinging 60's preceeding it or the 80's that came after. For myself and my contemporaries now in our late 40's, the 70's inhabit a dusty, murky corner of Childhood memory, and for friends of mine in their 50's they define an adolescence with a context that was markedly different from the 60's of their Childhood and a stark contrast to the the decade of their early adulthood that followed. The 70's are exceptionally different; in musical terms an encore to the 60's or a warm-up band for the 80's.Jonathan Coe's "Rotter's Club" is a trip down nostalgia lane, a look at youth, adolescence, friendship and growing up in 1970's Birmingham in the heart of Midlands England. Written from the vantage point of the turn of the new Millennium, this is wonderfully retro stuff; it's all here - the warm beer, Blue Nun, IRA bombs, brown wallpaper, militant unions, strikes, power cuts and of course the music ... and what a decade it was for music, the 70's ... from Marc Bolan & T-Rex, The Who, Bowie, Status Quo, Roxy Music, Mods vrs Rockers to the coming of Punk Rock ... The New wave haircuts, video games, Reaganonomics and "loads a' money" City types from the 80's were a long, long way off into the future, not to mention the World of today where Newspapers are iPads, telephone boxes iPhones, Suzy Quatro has given way for Taylor Swift, Enoch Powell is Nigel Farage, warm pints have become Mojitos, the IRA has been superseded by ISIS, a nice cuppa tea is a Grande flat white and God forbid if you should ask for bacon, egg & chips :- it's all Lychee shakes and JoJo berries now, if you don't mind. Birmingham City & Aston Villa are also gone (for now). We can't even manage a decent strike in Britain today. In fact, the only recognizable leftover from the 70's is Jeremy Corbyn, and even then he's not much more than a tribute band to Michael Foot and Tony Benn.Even rooted as it is in the atmosphere of a unique decade, Coe's novel nonethless is timeless in terms of its enduring human themes and emotions, with characters that grow on you, get under your skin and have you rooting for them. The pain, anguish, heartbreak, infatuations and exhilarations of the Teenage years are central to a big, airy, heartwarming tale that rises above it's smalltown setting and elevates to something larger than itself, capturing the spirit and essence of a unique decade and evoking the timeless emotions around the coming of age.

  • Philtrum
    2019-05-17 03:05

    It’s something of a mystery to me how I missed this book for so many years. It was published in 2001 but I didn’t get around to reading it until 2013.I had been aware of it, vaguely. Had I know what it was about, I’m sure I would have read it much sooner.Why? Well, aside from the fact I couldn’t have written it – not having the necessary literary skills – it might have been about my life.The story concerns a group of four boys who attend a public (private) school in Birmingham (UK) in the 1970s, and the narrative covers 1974-1979. It’s about coming of age, class, trades unions, politics, the IRA, sex, family life, music (progressive rock mainly, but some punk), school life, interpersonal relations etcI get the impression the story, such as it is, is highly autobiographical. (I might be wrong). I suspect that this is why it resonates so strongly with me. I went to a public school from 1974 to 1979 (Bedford, not Birmingham). I loved prog rock (Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, King Crimson) and punk. I had a close circle of friends at school and still look back on those days as some of the happiest (and most care-free) in my life. I remember fairly vividly the 1970s, from power-cuts in the early 70s, to the long hot summer of 76, the the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, to the general election of 1979 and the rise of the Tories.Wikipedia informs me Coe was born the day after me (in 1961). He has two daughters, born in 1997 and 2000. I have two daughters, born in 1997 and 2000 (though I also have three sons!).It’s just a marvellous tale, wonderfully told, capturing all the conflicting emotions of the times and of the lives of bright, earnest teenage lads.It’s not without faults. There isn’t really a proper “story”, no real arc, but this doesn’t detract from the whole for me, as, in this case, the journey is all – the destination not so important.The last section is a stream of consciousness chapter – all one long sentence – that, for me, was rather clumsy, and, if I’m honest, a little trite.All in all, for me this was a lovely, tender, funny, nostalgic book. I see there’s a sequel or sorts and I will read this in the next few weeks. 9/10

  • Elisa
    2019-05-21 02:07

    I feel bad about giving this 2 stars, because I love the way Jonathan Coe writes. But unfortunately I only made it to the three quarters mark before I decided not to continue. It's not a bad story, but it's so slow. I just got too bored. If it was a quarter of the length, I'd probably give it 4 stars. It doesn't help that I'm not interested in politics either, this being a major part of the story. I mainly like the way he writes about relationships and interactions, but affair after affair begins to get tiresome in a plot. Just not engaging enough for me, this one.

  • Simona
    2019-05-17 20:15

    Penso che il titolo originale "The closed circle" sia maggiormente indicativo per questa opera di Coe. The closed circle o La banda dei brocchi è un circolo al quale si ha quasi paura di accedere, paura di disturbare, perché non sai se sarai accolto."Ora, su, si disse il padre di Philip, questa la devi sapere. Asino, no. Cinque lettere. Brocchi? Beh, c'entra ma non comincia con R. I brocchi non ce la fanno. Sono di razza inferiore".La banda dei brocchi non è altro che un quartetto di amici che affrontano le prove che la vita mette loro davanti: dall'amore all'amicizia. E' un romanzo sull'adolescenza, ma potrebbe benissimo essere considerato un vero e proprio romanzo di formazione. E' il percorso di quattro amici con le piccole e grandi disavventure della vita.La formazione di quattro giovani, quattro amici che affrontano la vita in tutte le sue sfaccettature mentre l'Inghilterra, attorno a loro cambia e assistono a tutto ciò.Coe si rivela, come sempre, un grande maestro a raccontare l'Inghilterra degli anni 80 con le sue lotte sociali, lotte politiche, le sue rivoluzioni piccole o grandi che siano, il tutto condito da nuovi generi musicali che si fanno strada e dal suo tipico humour inglese che l'autore sa regalare molto bene ai suoi lettori.

  • Luc Sponger
    2019-04-25 23:20

    Alleen al het laatste hoofdstuk van een razend puberbrein maakt dit origineel vertelde verhaal de moeite van het lezen waard . In het grauwe Engeland van de jaren 70 en begin 80 van de vorige eeuw , tegen een achtergrond van stakingen , de IRA ,racisme en opkomende punkmuziek volgen we een groep middelbare scholieren in Birmingham . Rauw , grappig en soms hartverscheurend melancholisch wordt niet alleen knap een tijdsbeeld geschetst maar ook fraai een verhaal verteld van de verwarring en onzekerheid van pubers op weg naar een onzekere toekomst .

  • Mika Arvanitaki
    2019-04-26 03:24

    Ο Κοου ως δεινος αφηγητης και συγγραφεας, συνθετει με ευφυη τροπο ενα μικροκοσμο εφηβων στο Μπερμινγχαμ τη δεκαετια του '70, τοποθετωντας τον ωστοσο στο ευρυτερο πολιτικο, κοινωνικο, οικονομικο περιβαλλον της εποχης, οπου οι εφηβοι μαζι με τον αναγνωστη προβληματιζονται, ερωτευονται, γελουν, ακροβατουν αναμεσα στην αθωοτητα και τη σκληρη πραγματικοτητα, γιατι ο Κοου καταφερνει να παρουσιασει ενα ποικιλο μωσαικο ανθρβπινων χαρακτηρων και συναισθηματων με μοναδικο τροπο.. Βαθια ανθρωποκεντρικο και πολιτικο βιβλιο με εξαιρετικο χιουμορ..

  • Margherita Bruscolini
    2019-05-03 04:22

    Comico e profondo allo stesso tempo, ho adorato i personaggi e il mondo in cui sono inseriti. In particolare, gli aggettivi utilizzati e il registro linguistico generale risultano perfetti per il tipo di storia raccontata. Molto bello!

  • Kitty
    2019-05-05 19:56

    great book great times so good would totally recommend

  • T4ncr3d1
    2019-05-02 01:05

    Istintivamente ci voltammo tutti verso la finestra e guardammo fuori, verso la spiaggia, e adesso quando ripenso a quel pomeriggio il mio ricordo più nitido è la luce che vedemmo, quel cielo da pittori, grigioazzurro come gli occhi di Marie e dei suoi nipoti, il colore di un dolore che non se ne andrà mai.E' proprio vero: La banda dei Brocchi ha fatto per gli anni Settanta ciò che La famiglia Winshaw aveva fatto per gli anni Ottanta: un ricchissimo spaccato di società e vita inglese durante un decennio complesso, tra gusti musicali che cambiano, alternarsi di governi e l'inevitabile crescita degli adolescenti.Se, però, il primo è un romanzo più orientato verso la critica sociale, con la creazione di tipi particolari dell'establishment inglese, La banda dei brocchi è molto più poetico e raffinato, qualcosa a metà tra il diario e il documentario. Non tanto per le scelte narrative e stilistiche, quanto piuttosto per la scelta di giocare con personaggi adolescenti: e l'adolescenza, si sa, ha con sé una poesia che difficilmente ci si toglie di dosso. Ci sono passi di una bellezza assoluta, così profondi e spontanei che non sembrano scritti dall'autore, non sembrano pensati, costruiti, no, sembrano uscire fuori direttamente dai personaggi stessi, tanta è la profondità e la densità della loro caratterizzazione. Una caratterizzazione certo non facile, fosse solo per la varietà di tipi scelti dall'autore: eppure egli riesce a muoversi benissimo tra personaggi così differenti, capaci, per questo, di rappresentare davvero il divenire di un'intera generazione. Qualcuno vi ha visto un romanzo di formazione, ma sarebbe riduttivo: forse, piuttosto, si potrà dire che sì, lo è, un romanzo di formazione di una generazione e di un intero paese.Stilisticamente, questo romanzo non mi sembra assolutamente inferiore (come pure è stato detto) al raffinatissimo La casa del sonno, né tantomeno a La famiglia Winshaw; non ho dubbi di trovarmi dinanzi alla matura sintesi delle esperienze vissute dall'autore nei suddetti romanzi. Lo stile è ancora una volta brioso, pieno di arguzia, di raffinato humour british, ma Coe è anche capace di descrizioni bellissime che non si leggono dai tempi del Naturalismo francese, di passaggi di una liricità assoluta.Magistrale, ed è quasi inutile dirlo, ormai, l'uso del tempo: Coe ne fa davvero quello che vuole, lo accorcia, lo salta, lo allunga. Procede spedito con una narrazione frenetica, a scatti, spinto dall'inquietudine di certi suoi personaggi, poi compie un salto temporale e infine rallenta il tempo, prendendosi tutte le pause che vuole, invitando il lettore a soffermarsi, lasciando decantare la dolce malinconia dei suoi personaggi.Allo stesso modo Coe continua a giocare con le tecniche narrative, infarcendo il romanzo di lettere, passi di diari, e con gli spassosissimi articoli del giornalino scolastico cui partecipano i personaggi; la musica è poi una presenza costante, con citazioni dirette o indirette. C'è però una parte in cui Coe raggiunge veramente il culmine massimo: Un sottobicchiere verde è il titolo della terza parte del romanzo, un lunghissimo flusso di coscienza che precede il brevissimo epilogo, un vero e proprio omaggio a Joyce, a ben vedere, tanto più che l'Ulisse viene addirittura citato direttamente.Insomma, io ormai non ho dubbi: Jonathan Coe è il grande narratore inglese contemporaneo.

  • Germano Dalcielo
    2019-04-27 03:00

    Ho comprato questo libro sulla scia delle recensioni entusiastiche che si trovano online, ma, ahimè, già dalle prime 25 pagine volevo lanciare il libro dalla finestra. Si viene catapultati nell'Inghilterra degli anni '70 in un contesto storico-sociale che per un lettore non anglofono non è facile inquadrare o ricostruire su due piedi, per non parlare del "pallottoliere" umano di cui si rinuncia in partenza a fissare parentele, amicizie, legami di sangue o relazioni sentimentali. Si prosegue nella lettura, sperando che le nebbie si dipanino da sole. La prosa fondamentalmente è scorrevole, tra le righe c'è un tocco di ironia tagliente che alleggerisce la narrazione, ma quello che mi ha irritato mentre leggevo è che per 380 pagine non succede NIENTE. O meglio, per onestà intellettuale va detto che a pagina 150 circa c'è lo scoppio di una bomba in un pub. Ah, finalmente! - pensa il lettore, convinto che sia la svolta decisiva alla piattezza narrativa che si è dovuto sorbire fino ad allora. Cosa fa invece Coe? Riprende la storyline di Lois, la sopravvissuta alla bomba, solo dopo altre 100 pagine, riempite di altro NULLA. Un nulla fatto di moine sentimentali, turbe adolescenziali, dinamiche amicali all'interno e fuori del liceo, scioperi di operai, tradimenti coniugali, relazioni clandestine, articoli per il giornalino della scuola, e, dulcis in fundo, una storiella strappalacrime sul nazismo. La mazzata finale è un capitolo di 30 pagine a forma di diario scritto da un infoiato Benjamin, il protagonista, con la tecnica narrativa (sicuramente un esercizio stilistico di Coe) del flusso di pensiero. Quest'ultima è stata la ciliegina sulla torta, mentre la leggevo mi è venuto per un attimo voglia di abbandonare il libro a 20, ripeto 20, pagine dalla fine.L'unica cosa che salvo di questo libercolo è il paio di risate che strappa quando racconta gli scherzi orchestrati da Harding, le lettere esilaranti di quest'ultimo indirizzate a "La Bacheca" sotto pseudonimo, e alcune scene imbarazzanti come quella del sesso nell'armadio, e finanche divertenti, come la storia del costume in piscina o lo "scherzo" del vento a Colin Trotter mentre la famiglia è in campeggio. Tutto il resto è noia soporifera.

  • Paul The Uncommon Reader
    2019-05-15 01:09

    My worldAh, this is an easy review to write!I loved this book for entirely selfish and ego-centric reasons: it was written by a man of my nationality, age and social class. It is set in his/my teenage years, and its references, events, feel and whole approach is so close to my own, that every few pages I felt I was back there, a teenager in 1976 whose life centre consisted of pretentious prog rock bands, strange encounters with utterly non world-changing things like girls and personal religion (but God did it all seem so important!), whilst in the background the world was moving in tectonic, seismic dimensions that in my pre-politicised consciousness and innocence I didn’t even really notice. The three-day week, full-scale civil war in Belfast that spilled over to London, Birmingham and Manchester in the pub bombings; massive industrial disputes in places like Longbridge and Grunwick, where radical shifts in industrial relations based on clashing political ideologies (which did still exist then, yes) were ushering in a new Britain; contrasted with what was going on industrially and sociologically in Germany at the same time…This book is an easy 5 stars. It is the book that reminds me exactly of the most intense, formative, memorable period of my life – the teenage years. A personal and social document that I will treasure forever.Which is, of course, an unashamedly emotional and un-academic response. For somebody born ten years earlier or later, it may be badly written pulp (but I don’t think so, as the stories are funny, moving and sad, the characters touching, real and rounded – no matter what era you grew up in).But I don’t care. I loved every page!

  • mrs rin
    2019-05-08 03:03

    (view spoiler)[Η λέσχη των τιποτένιωνπεριέχει μια πληθώρα χαρακτήρων κι ασχολείται με την καθημερινή τους ζωή την δεκαετία του 1970 στο Λονδίνο.Πολλά πράγματα μπερδεύονται μέσα όπως ιστορικά γεγονότα, ρατσισμός, πολιτικά, μοιχεία, bullying, τραγικές ιστορίες, υπονοούμενες τραγικές ιστορίες and the list goes on and on...Αν κι έχει πολλά από αυτά που ψάχνω σε ένα βιβλίο, με κούρασε πάρα πολύ κι έπιασα τον εαυτό μου, αρκετές φορές, να μη καταλαβαίνει κάποιες παραγράφους αλλά να συνεχίζει να διαβάζει παρακάτω. Δεν δέθηκα με κανέναν χαρακτήρα, και γενικά δύο πράγματα σε όλο το βιβλίο μου κίνησαν το ενδιαφέρον... Η σκηνή στα αποδυτήρια όπου ο Μπεντζαμιν προσεύχεται στον Θεό να του εμφανίσει ένα μαγιό κι αυτός ως αντάλλαγμα θα του δώσει την πίστη του για το υπόλοιπο της ζωής του. Ίσως να φταίει η λεπτή σχέση που έχω με την θρησκεία, ίσως το πόσο κατάλαβα τον Μπέντζαμιν στο να μη θέλει να πέσει θύμα αρνητικών σχολίων των συμμαθητών του, αλλά αυτή η σκηνή, αυτή η μία σελίδα με έκανε να κλάψω και να την σκέφτομαι για αρκετές μέρες αφότου τελείωσα το βιβλίο.Η όλη ιστορία της Λόις ήταν ένα μέτριο ενδιαφέρον για μένα, ή μάλλον καλύτερα στεναχώρια. Βάζω ένα μεγάλοΓΙΑΤΙπάνω από το όνομα της Λόις. Δεν είναι τόσο η τραγική της ιστορία και τα πόσα ψυχολογικά είχε μετά το συμβάν για την βόμβα που με κάνουν να στεναχωριέμαι, όσο το ότι προσπαθούσε πραγματικά να ξεπεράσει ό,τι έγινε και η προσπαθειά της να μείνει ο εαυτός της ακόμα κι αν ήταν τόσο αδύνατο.(hide spoiler)]Διαβάστηκε στα πλαίσια αναγνωστικής λέσχης για τον Νοέμβριο του 2016

  • Sera
    2019-05-05 22:08

    I had read The Rain Before It Falls and the House of Sleep by the same writer before. I loved those two books as well but they are definitely not as good as the Rotters' Club. I am even going to say "nothing more than nice reads" when they are compared to this one. As one of those impressing novels which is both hilarious and touching at the same time with all those bittersweet moments of characters, The Rotters' Club is more than an average coming of age story. The political background and 70s in the UK have vital parts in the novel. Besides, no character is mentioned in vain. The author makes the best of each characters and narrating a story within the eyes of several characters seems to give the writer an opportunity to try different styles like stream of consciousness, interviews, letters, newspaper articles. The dramatic parts are not overemphasized as in The Rain Before It Falls and I didn't feel suffocated between the overdramatic lines this time as a reader. After all, this has been one of the most hilarious books I have read as well. It is similar to the Black Swan Green by David Mitchell in many senses such as the period atmosphere (80s in David Mitchell's novel), hilariousness and touching moments of the main character. The Rotters' Club is very intense and I hope the sequel (The Closed Circle) doesn't disappoint.

  • Jane
    2019-05-03 02:03

    A very well written, witty novel. Set in Birmingham in the 70's in the midst of industrial action, IRA bombings, a political time and later on the punk rock era. The story is set in a boy's grammar school very much like the one my husband attended on the other side of Birmingham. Viewed by labour voters, socialists and communists as elite, only attainable by an entrance exam. You feel the competitiveness to achieve in academic studies and sports. It is very easy to imagine school bullies looking for easy targets, soft touches and the only black pupil in the school (particularly if good at everything). A look at both the shy and brazen interaction between these young boys and the girls from the school next door. It takes you back to that time when there were black outs due to the strikes, the political unrest and the IRA pub bombings. I liked the reference to famous journalist/authors at NME in London, namely Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill. Prog rock was in, very much in the shape of Yes, Soft Machine et al and at the later end of the 70's we hear about punk bands like The Clash. The book starts with the story being told by Sophie and Patrick who had never met before, their parents had known each other back at that time in the 70's and this setting in Berlin is picked up again at the end of the book. A recommended read.

  • Valentina
    2019-05-27 01:12

    3.5Ecco la recensione della mia prima lettura del 2017! "La banda dei brocchi" segue le vicissitudini di un gruppo di ragazzi che frequentano il King Williams, una scuola d'élite di Birmingham, negli anni '70 e delle loro rispettive famiglie nel clima politico del tempo.Nonostante sia stata una lettura molto piacevole e a tratti divertente, per certi aspetti ricorda molto Nick Hornby, mi ha lasciata insoddisfatta. Avevo sentito parlare molto bene di questo libro, soprattutto per la sua capacità di calare pienamente il lettore nella storia e nell'atmosfera di quegli anni, perciò mi ero fatta delle aspettative molte alte, forse troppo alte. Mi sono trovata a sentire una grande connessione con molti dei personaggi, ma il fatto che il narratore cambiasse così spesso e che la storia saltasse avanti nel tempo ogni poco mi ha lasciata con la voglia di conoscerli meglio, di sapere che fine fanno. Capisco che sia una scelta narrativa, ma mi ha comunque disturbata. Per il resto la storia è velata di nostalgia, le problematiche politiche sono trattate da diversi punti di vista, incarnate da diversi personaggi in maniera tanto acuta e dinamica da rispecchiare perfettamente la società degli anni '70 inglesi.Consiglio comunque questo libro, mi ha intrigata e fatta sorridere, e senza alcun dubbio leggerò il seguito.

  • Lee Foust
    2019-04-28 04:15

    The phrase that jumps to mind, critically, as I sit to compose a response to this novel is "Jack of all trades, master of none." The Rotter's Club does many things pretty well: smooth read, engrossing enough plot, interesting enough characters, fine evocation of time period (1970s) and place (Birmingham), political/social commentary/observation on class and race in that place and time so pivotal, in retrospect, to those of us of that generation, in forming today's horror show. I also personally loved the wittiness of some of the novel's games (particularly the puns of Lois and Ben's names), the frame around the story, and the re-occurring Hatfield and the North motif--a favorite band of mine!Unfortunately the sum of these parts fails to be greater than a general feeling of super-competentcy, but nothing, disappointingly, approaching shoutaboutability. I suppose the epic somehow lacked that single monolithic experiment, set piece, character, or super-original idea that would have put it over for me.Will I read the sequel? Sure, if I can find a used copy like I did of this one. I sort of wish I had a copy now as the story and characters do grow on one. I got used to it, but still not shouting about it.