As I have already mentioned, I had never read anything by Jonathan Coe before picking this up. I was, however, quite attracted to the book blurb/ cover & Brussels’ (where I spent 7 years of my life) setting and thus decided to give ‘Expo58’ a go… Having finished it a couple of weeks ago, I have to say I don’t regret that for a minute. In fact, I will happily buy/ read more of Coe’s 9 previous offerings.
Back to the novel in question, I found it to be highly witty and entertaining (to the point of occasionally making me laugh out loud), well- researched and (yet) easily digestible.
Coe’s prose was quite atmospheric, capturing (what, I imagine, was) the feel of the era and masterfully weaving in historical details, without awkwardly interrupting the flow of the story. Most of the characters were adequately portrayed and enjoyable (despite some of them being a bit stereotypical and not as deeply scrutinized) and the end result was a book that kept me going way past my normal bedtime each night.
In the end, the plot was tied up satisfactorily enough, leaving no loose ends and including a “Years Later” final chapter, which made me contemplate the nature of choices (& the consequences they might have on one’s future).
As a final note, I need to make special mention of Julian Rhind- Tutt and his wonderful narrative – which turned my Audible version of the book into a gloriously theatrical & highly satisfying experience. Definitely recommended if you are a fan of audiobooks.
Paperback: 288 pages
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