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Publisher's Summary

It is the 1980s and the Winshaw family are getting richer and crueller by the year. Newspaper-columnist Hilary gets thousands for telling it like it isn’t; Henry’s turning hospitals into car-parks; Roddy’s selling art in return for sex; down on the farm, Dorothy’s squeezing every last pound from her livestock; Thomas is making a killing on the stock exchange; and Mark is selling arms to dictators.

But when their hapless biographer Michael Owen starts investigating the family’s trail of greed, corruption, and immoral doings, the time is ripe for the Winshaws to receive their comeuppance.

©1994 Jonathan Coe (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Though occasionally didactic, this work is nonetheless a tour-de-force-and a delight to read." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A triumph

A glorious juxtoposition of emotion, humour, and inciteful social comment. I immediately raced out and downloaded everyone of his books. My career as a writer is ended. If I cant entertain like this guy ...... Im going back to the salt mines.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wouter
  • Blaasveld, Belgium
  • 02-24-13

Chapter missing!

Overall, the narrator did a really good job mimicking different voices.
The first part of Dorothy's chapter is missing though!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charles
  • 06-13-10

Bitingly funny

I was surprised to see that some anonymous listener had left a one starred review for this book. Having recently listened to and thoroughly enjoyed it I thought I should attempt to redress the balance.

In truth it may not be for everyone; the satire is even fiercer than in Coe's other books and if you thought that Margaret Thatcher was the best thing since sliced bread then you may find your sensibilities offended. For everyone else it is an extremely clever, funny and well structured look at how Britain operated in the late twentieth century with a Dickensian cast of characters and a strong emotional core that will stay with the reader/listener long after the book is finished.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 04-02-12

Definitely worth a go

I've not given Jonathan Coe a go before - I'm not sure why really. However, after listening to this one, I'll definitely be working my way through the rest of his books. Superbly narrated by Colin Buchanan.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful