The Rotters' Club Background

The Rotters' Club Background

Jonathan Coe is a contemporary British novelist, known for his fictional works which balance satire and politics in equal measure. He was born to a working class family in a suburb of Birmingham in 1961. He studied at Cambridge University, and later received a PhD in English Literature from Warwick University. After working in the music industry throughout the 1980s, Coe published his first novel in 1987. The Accidental Woman, was followed two years later by A Touch of Love, and The Dwarves of Death, in 1990. His first major success came with What a Carve Up! for which he was awarded the John Llewlyn Rhys Prize in 1994.

The Rotter's Club first arrived in 2001. Like much of Coe's work, the novel is set in England, in this case the Birmingham of Coe's youth. This novel follows the lives of young boys as they navigate the rough, declining industrial city throughout the 1970s. The novel references the music, politics, and daily life of the time, as Coe experienced it himself. In his typical political fashion, Coe references the IRA bombing plot and the mining strikes which occurred at the time of the novel. The novel is notable for featuring what is considered to be the longest sentence in the English language, at an 13,995 words long.

The Rotter's Club was well-received by critics, going on to win the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize in 2001. In 2003, the novel was adapted into a BBC television program. In 2004, the novel's sequel, The Closed Circle, was published.

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