England, England by Julian Barnes

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Booker Prize Finalist

"Wickedly funny." --The New York Times

Imagine an England where all the pubs are quaint,  where the Windsors behave themselves (mostly), where the cliffs of Dover are actually white, and where Robin Hood and his merry men really are merry.  This is precisely what visionary tycoon, Sir Jack Pitman, seeks to accomplish on the Isle of Wight, a "destination" where tourists can find replicas of Big Ben (half size), Princess Di's grave, and even Harrod's (conveniently located inside the tower of London).

Martha Cochrane, hired as one of  Sir Jack's resident "no-people," ably assists him in realizing his dream.  But when this land of make-believe gradually gets horribly and hilariously out of hand, Martha develops her own vision of the perfect England.  Julian Barnes delights us with a novel that is at once a philosophical inquiry, a burst of mischief, and a moving elegy about authenticity and nationality.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Julian Barnes

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Julian Barnes's honors include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He lives in London. www.julianbarnes.com
Published January 16, 2009 by Vintage. 284 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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And, to turn the screw even tighter, the Huxleyan portrayal of “England, England” (Sir Jack’s name for his “Project”) is framed by extended scenes depicting Martha’s troubled childhood (a history she scorns to remember) and her old age after “The Island” has literally replaced England and the que...

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Publishers Weekly

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Then the tables are turned, Martha is thrown out, and the book saunters into an exquisitely poignant coda that envisions a real England that has in effect withdrawn from the contemporary world to lovingly evoked rustic roots.

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AV Club

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Not just about tea-swilling businessmen or the Royal Family, England, England lovingly and wittily exploits England as the butt of a big joke: Call it "Cruel Britannia."

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of England, England


But in England, England his first novel in six years that theme has its strongest vehicle to date.

Sep 24 2015 | Read Full Review of England, England

London Review of Books

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