Book Review: Number 11 by Jonathan Coe

number-11 What’s it about?

This is a novel about the hundreds of tiny connections between the public and private worlds and how they affect us all.

It’s about the legacy of war and the end of innocence.

It’s about how comedy and politics are battling it out and comedy might have won.

It’s about how 140 characters can make fools of us all.

It’s about living in a city where bankers need cinemas in their basements and others need food banks down the street.

It is Jonathan Coe doing what he does best ­ – showing us how we live now.

My thoughts

In my best Sesame Street voice this book is brought to you by the Number 11 and the characters Rachel and Alison!  I say this  because it’s like a series of short stories in one linked by the initial characters.

I’m not gonna lie I opened this book and saw the small black type and my heart sank but actually it’s really easy to get into and read despite the tiny type.  In a nutshell it’s the story of Rachel and Alison and their friendship since childhood set against significant historical or social events such as the Iraq war, and then later it even has a backdrop of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.  It’s very cleverly plotted and linked together and I was surprised at how much I liked it.

I’m sure there’s a deeper political undercurrent to this book but that kind of thing just goes over my head.  I read it for its enjoyment rather than to over-analyse its sub-concious meanings.

Overall, a really good read that I didn’t expect to like.  Read if you enjoyed The Trouble with Goats & Sheep by Joanna Cannon.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter


  1. 8th November 2016 / 4:38 pm

    I do enjoy these formats Lindsay. Added to the wishlist!

    • 8th November 2016 / 9:03 pm

      Email me your address Shaz and you’re more than welcome to my copy! 🙂

      • 9th November 2016 / 4:01 pm

        Thank you! That’s generous Lindsay x

        • 9th November 2016 / 9:01 pm

          You’re welcome! I usually take my used books to the charity shop where I volunteer but I know they’re over run. I’m glad to pass it on for someone else to enjoy (I hope!) x

          • 9th November 2016 / 9:20 pm

            I am sure I will! x

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