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Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
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The Winshaw Legacy: or, What a Carve Up! Paperback – Jan 3 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Vintage Intl edition (Jan. 3 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679754059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679754053
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #433,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this patchily entertaining postmodern pastiche of class warfare, Coe places Michael Owen, a burnt-out middle-class writer, as the family chronicler of the Winshaws, an upper-class British dynasty involved in everything wrong with modern England: television and tabloid journalism (Hilary, the hack); Thatcherite politics and National Health Service Reform (Henry, the back-stabber); industrialized agriculture (the beastly Dorothy); insider stock trading (Thomas, the voyeur); and arms dealing with Iraq (the callous Mark). Coe's contemporary vile bodies are not only utterly unprincipled, greedy and philistine, but their presentation is uninspired and unamusing as well, contracting these issues down to a distinctly parochial dimension. Sandwiching their corrupt stories is an intricate comic plot out of the murder-at-the-manor genre, weirdly reflected in Owen's obsession with an old movie in which he is convinced he stars and which determines his fate. Coe's dry, deflating Midlands sense of humor infrequently rises above the episodes of scrupulously didactic satire and works well with the more quotidian social ills, such as telly-addiction and the unending waits in NHS hospitals. The narrative becomes more interesting toward the end, when Coe gets around to murdering a number of his characters, but since they never become quite real in the first place, the reader doesn't really care. A story closer to this mundane Britain of post-Thatcher disaffection would have been more welcome for his American debut than agitprop Waugh-mongering.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In this mordant satire of 1980s greed, a seemingly chance encounter with an employee of a vanity press lands well-reviewed if little-read novelist Michael Owen a commission to write the history of a powerful British family named the Winshaws. The Winshaws have made their mark in every area of British life. Harry is a member of Parliament, Hilary writes a popular newspaper column, Dorothy runs the nation's largest slaughterhouse, Thomas is a merchant banker, Roddy is a London art dealer, and Mark is an arms dealer supplying Saddam Hussein. Yet, as Owen soons discovers, their wealth and power are matched by their shallowness and moral vacuity. Coe stirs elements of the Gothic, detective, and comic genres into a wildly funny, ultimately frightening mix. Though occasionally didactic, this work is nonetheless a tour-de-force-and a delight to read.
Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on July 10 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the first Coe book I've read and I loved it. It's funny and clever, develops the plot in a fragmented, looping chronology with multiple perspectives, sources, and interlocking stories - all presided over by a very unhappy and frustrated lead narrator. You know, the sort of things you find in Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, and Will Self novels (and seemingly all serious films since at least 'Pulp Fiction'). But it is more straightforward, with less literary ambition, or pretension, than what I've read from those authors. The story is much easier to follow, and one can say exactly what happens at the end, rather than speculating on the desultory and stridently ambiguous finishes those other authors frequently give us.
The unfashionable clarity is a result of the book's overt politics. I find that Amis and Self bury their political commentary in stories that focus on how tormented their characters feel by the unexplained vagaries of life and how irreversibly complex it's all become. Coe, on the other hand, is willing to identify and blame the forces that have made society such a mess and living so hard to figure out. It's not some Fat Controller with supernatural powers, nor a mysterious seeming-friend doing improbable things with the money system to play out a personal grudge. It's right-wing politicians and businesses who, among other things: control our news sources and fill them with meaningless gossip or misleading agitprop, stoke up wars and profit on arms sales, industrialise food production at the expense of the ecology and consumer health, and intentionally ruin our public services to serve their theological devotion to laissez faire economics.
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Format: Paperback
Jonathan Coe's "The Winshaw Legacy" is a wickedly funny black comedy of the very first order. It's a satire which lampoons the "greed is good" ethics of Thatcherite England using a cast of third generation Winshaws who must seem like the vilest human specimens ever to have inhabited planet earth. They are all beyond redemption, from media superbitch Hilary, to art enthusiast and scoundrel Roddy, merchant banker with a secret fetish Thomas, shamelessly two-faced politician Henry, dirty dealing Mark and agricultural businesswoman and philistine, Dorothy. They are their parents' progeny. No doubt about it. It leaves Aunt Tabitha, the mad and odd one out among the second generation Winshaws, to commission the settling of a long held but hushed up family secret. The detective work is carried out by the narrator whose own peculiar past sets him up for the undertaking. The Winshaws are all drawn up in bloated pop colour proportions it's clear we're not expected to take them seriously as characters. The last section of the novel may seem awfully predictable ("paint-by-numbers" you think in your head) but it's OK because we're watching a spoof and a spoof made all the more wonderful because it's so incredibly funny. Henry's hilarious television interview and Dorothy's gruesome cost saving methods in chicken farming are just two episodes that stick to your mind. Aunt Tabitha looms in the background like a witch but when she shows up, she lights up the pages. Coe's writing is consistently first rate, deliciously wicked and thoroughly enjoyable. His humour is always well timed and spot on in its execution. "The Winshaw Legacy" is an stupendous piece of work that will appeal to readers of both serious fiction and detective thrillers. Don't miss it !
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Format: Paperback
Jonathan Coe was born in 1961. The film "What a Carve Up!" (aka "No Place Like Homicide") was released the same year. Thirty-four years later, Coe published this book of the same name. The US prints are titled "The Winshaw Legacy." Is Coe's book the story of the film? Yes and No. The film is just a character in the story. The film and the story get bizarrely intertwined towards the end.
Coe carves up quite a story here, but it's not the dainty carving of a romantic sculptor. It's the irreverent slash of the nonconformist knife. It's the wayward chiselling away by the postmodernist pen. Out of these strokes emerges a story that takes stereotypes to an absurd level. Yet the absurdity doesn't offend your intelligence. It's as if the author signs an invisible pact with the reader: "Yes, you know it's exaggerated, so do I, but what the heck!"
The Winshaws represent a bunch of opportunist parasites who have checked into the world without the baggage of conscience. A columnist who generates mindless trash endlessly, an art dealer who sells fame for sex, a merchant banker with a morbid voyeuristic streak, a livestock farmer whose way of dealing with economically unviable male chicks is to put them in a mill "capable of mincing 1000 chicks to pulp every two minutes" or to gas them with chloroform or carbon dioxide... you'll find the worst imaginable faces of post-War England here, caricatured to contortion beyond recognition. Each chapter is a peep at the plot from a different angle. The principal narrator is a young writer called Michael Owen who is commissioned to write a biography of the Winshaw family. Most divergent outlooks mingle and collide and so do the characters in ways stranger than fiction, culminating in a kind of nemesis any deus ex machina would stay away from.
"What a Carve Up!" is a wild cocktail. Cheers!
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