You know when you have it in your head that you really like an author? Because, at some stage in your history, you read a book by them that was well, almost perfect? And you read and read their other work, still hoping to find another gem, but always come away a little disappointed? Sadly, that is my relationship with Jonathan Coe.
In 2001, when it first came out, I read ‘The Rotter’s Club.’ And I remember laughing out loud, and being totally engrossed in what I was reading. So, like the bad relationship you keep going back to, because you remember one magical day, I am always hopeful when a new Jonathan Coe novel comes out.
And so it was with ‘Expo 58.’ I even stopped reading another book in the middle, to begin this one. Not. Worth. It.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad book. It just didn’t warrant all the excitement on my part. It was just a bit of a nothing. The setting itself, the Belgian expo, is fairly interesting. But the characters lack pizazz, the storyline is a bit windy without much to sell it and the much-promised laughs just didn’t come.
My relationship with Jonathan Coe is such that sometimes I wonder whether it is in fact me, and not him that is the problem. Because, if I read other people’s reviews of Expo 58, they seem to love it, and get it, and find it engaging and often funny.
Sadly, Jonathan Coe, I think it’s time for me to move on. I don’t see in you what I once did and can no longer love you the way I have. Luckily for you, there are plenty of others out there to pick up where I left off.