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England, England

Barnes, Julian

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ISBN 10: 0375405828 / ISBN 13: 9780375405822
Published by Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A., 1999
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Kennedy Books (Jamestown, ND, U.S.A.)

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Fine/Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 001036

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Bibliographic Details

Title: England, England

Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First American Edition.

About this title


From a writer acclaimed by everyone from Graham Greene to John Fowles to John Irving, a new novel, short-listed for the Booker Prize, which The Sunday Times of London calls "both funny and serious, a double-act that English novels rarely manage . . . A commanding imaginative achievement."

Picture an England where all the pubs are quaint, the Royals behave themselves (more or less), and the cliffs of Dover actually are white. Now imagine that the principal national treasures--from Stonehenge to Buckingham Palace--are grouped together on the Isle of Wight.

This is precisely the vision that Sir Jack Pitman seeks to realize: a "destination" where tourists can find replicas of Big Ben, Wembley Stadium, the National Gallery, Princess Di's grave, and even Harrods (conveniently located inside the Tower of London), and visit them all in the course of a weekend. As this land of make-believe takes on its own comic and horrible reality, Barnes delights us with a novel that is at once a philosophical inquiry, a burst of mischief, a hilarious romp, and a moving elegy about authenticity and nationality.

Julian Barnes, according to The Sunday Times, "has written nothing more poignant and enticing."


Julian Barnes's England, England is a sharp-edged satire of Englishness at the end of the 20th century. The real England is failing--her empire lost, her aspirations to greatness subsiding, her history fading. Megalomaniacal entrepreneur Sir Jack Pitman hits upon the idea of creating an altogether superior, theme-park version of the original on the Isle of Wight (renamed simply the Island). His creative team includes Martha Cochraine, whose own childhood disappointments and unfulfilled dreams Barnes unfolds to the reader in the opening chapters. For a brief moment it looks as if able Martha will outsmart the ruthless Sir Jack, assisted by her grateful, bespectacled lover Paul Harrison (the operation's "ideas catcher"). But this is fantasy, so humble Paul betrays Martha (it would never do for the feisty woman to win after all). She retreats to the real England of faded glory, nostalgic folklore and regret.

In one section of this short novel the theme-park Dr Johnson talks entirely in direct quotations from his distinguished 18th-century counterpart, before being judged insufficiently convincing. The real, we understand, is less compelling than the fake. There are so many cultural allusions per page that the head of even the most enthusiastic English culture snob will spin. --Lisa Jardine

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