My favourite book 32: What a Carve Up!

What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe

Viking 1994; this edition Pengin 1995

What a Carve Up! was my first Jonathan Coe, and it was his breakthrough book.  A curious, mad story, based on a dreadful sub-Carry On film, Coe uses the movie plot as a springboard for a satire on the State Of England from World War II to Gulf War I.

Coe is an immensely likeable author and (which always works for me) a Powell/Pressburger buff.  Each novel creates a new, oblique viewpoint on the world of by-passes, confused marriages and post-industrial uncertainty.  Judging from my choice of bookmark, I first read What a Carve Up! on a flight from Columbus OH to Chicago Midway.

What a Carve Up! is still published by Penguin, where a department of art directors rejackets the oeuvre on a regular basis.