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Expo 58 (Anglais) Relié – 5 septembre 2013


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Probably the best English novelist of his generation." --Nick Hornby
 
"Expo 58 is quite the equal of Greene's 'entertainment' [Our Man in Havana]. The climax...brings the personal and the political into a brilliant and satisfying conclusion...So neatly is Expo 58 constructed that, reaching the final page, the reader's first impulse will be to go back to see exactly how Coe has executed his myriad sleights of hand. This is entertainment of a very high order, and all the more delightful for being grounded in the more bizarre dimensions of reality, the inspiration of all the best fiction." --Robert McCrum, Guardian
 
"A sustained feat of humour, suspense and polemic, full of twists and ironies." --Hilary Mantel, Sunday Times (on What a Carve up!)
 
"Thank goodness for Jonathan Coe, who records what Britain has lost in the past thirty years in his elegiac fiction." --Scotland on Sunday
 
"Please, God...if there's a next life, let me write as well as Jonathan Coe." --Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Présentation de l'éditeur

Expo 58 - Good-looking girls and sinister spies: a naive Englishman at loose in Europe in Jonathan Coe's brilliant comic novelLondon, 1958: unassuming civil servant Thomas Foley is plucked from his desk at the Central Office of Information and sent on a six-month trip to Brussels. His task: to keep an eye on The Brittania, a brand new pub which will form the heart of the British presence at Expo 58 - the biggest World's Fair of the century, and the first to be held since the Second World War.As soon as he arrives at the site, Thomas feels that he has escaped a repressed, backward-looking country and fallen headlong into an era of modernity and optimism. He is equally bewitched by the surreal, gigantic Atomium, which stands at the heart of this brave new world, and by Anneke, the lovely Flemish hostess who meets him off his plane. But Thomas's new-found sense of freedom comes at a price: the Cold War is at its height, the mischievous Belgians have placed the American and Soviet pavilions right next to each other - and why is he being followed everywhere by two mysterious emissaries of the British Secret Service? Expo 58 may represent a glittering future, both for Europe and for Thomas himself, but he will soon be forced to decide where his public and private loyaties really lie.For fans of Jonathan Coe's classic comic bestsellers What a Carve Up! and The Rotters' Club, this hilarious new novel, which is set in the Mad Men period of the mid 50s, will also be loved by readers of Nick Hornby, William Boyd and Ian McEwan.'Coe has huge powers of observation and enormous literary panache' Sunday Times'No one marries formal ingenuity with inclusiveness of tone more elegantly' Time Out'Coe is among the handful of novelists who can tell us something about the temper of our times' Observer'Thank goodness for Jonathan Coe, who records what Britain has lost in the past thirty years in his elegiac fiction' Scotland on SundayJonathan Coe was born in Birmingham in 1961. Expo 58 is his tenth novel. The previous nine are all available in Penguin: The Accidental Woman, A Touch of Love, The Dwarves of Death, What a Carve Up! (which won the 1995 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), The House of Sleep (which won the 1998 Prix Medicis Etranger), The Rotters' Club (winner of the Everyman Wodehouse Prize), The Closed Circle, The Rain Before It Falls and The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim. His biography of the novelist B.S. Johnson, Like a Fiery Elephant, won the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for best non-fiction book of the year.



Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 288 pages
  • Editeur : Viking; Édition : Cloth/dust jacket Octavo (5 septembre 2013)
  • Collection : VIKING FIC HB
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0670923710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670923717
  • Dimensions du produit: 16,2 x 2,8 x 24 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.2 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 22.563 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Né en 1961, à Birmingham, en Angleterre, Jonathan Coe a fait ses études à Trinity College à Cambridge. Il a écrit des articles pour le Guardian, la London Review of Books, le Times Literary Supplement...
Il a reçu le prix Femina Étranger en 1995 pour son quatrième roman, Testament à l'anglaise et le prix Médicis Étranger en 1998 pour La Maison du sommeil.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles

7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par thierry gilles le 9 octobre 2013
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
"Expo 58" n'est pas le meilleur livre de Jonathan Coe mais l'auteur garde le don de raconter avec intelligence et ironie des histoires qui mettent du baume au cœur.
L'intérêt du livre est également historique car il analyse très bien le vernis optimiste des années 50-60 dans le contexte particulièrement puéril et sordide de la Guerre Froide. On ne peut que sourire de lire certains discours et certaines prédictions quand on regarde l'état de notre monde actuel...
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Par Patrick Mallejacq le 30 août 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Not nearly as brilliant as What a carve up. This said, quite funny and who doesn't enjoy 1950s English language? Good summer read I'd say, old chap.
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1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par A. De Ferry le 5 mai 2014
Format: Relié
Un auteur à succès qui se lance dans le genre espionnage, on aurait du en attendre un très bon livre. Hélas on s'ennuie pendant les 3/4 du livre de la petite histoire de Thomas Foley entre son ministère et sa petite femme. Sans intérêt. On espère que ce ne sera qu'une mise en situation mais le livre avance et on attend toujours. A Bruxelles c'est tout aussi navrant. Il faut attendre les dernières pages pour retrouver un peu d'intérêt car on cherche ce que l'auteur a bien pu vouloir dire. Les surprises sont cousues de fils blanc. Monsieur Coe ferait mieux de laisse le genre policier/espionnage à des spécialistes comme Pierre Lemaitre ( et bien d'autres) dont je commence la lecture de "Au revoir, là Haut" après avoir lu plusieurs romans de lui. Je reste surpris de la bonne critique des médias. Commerce oblige.
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1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Client Amazon le 16 mai 2014
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Très bon livre à la fois drôle et instructif tout à fait dans l'humour britannique, quand on commence on a envie d'aller plus loin.
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Amazon.com: 33 commentaires
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The World's Fair... 28 septembre 2013
Par Jill Meyer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Long before the internet opened the world up with the click of a mouse, great expositions or World's Fairs were the common way to excite visitors to the host cities with the world's wonders and glimpses of the "future". According to Wiki, the first exposition was held in London in 1851. They were held regularly after that, until World War 2. The first Fair after the end of the war was the Brussels Worlds Fair of 1958.

British author Jonathan Coe has used that Fair as the subject of his new novel, "Expo 58". More pointedly, it is the focal point of some low-key spying and high-blown diplomacy, along with human interaction of the more personal sort. Coe's lead character, a British bureaucrat named Thomas Foley, has been assigned by his office to oversee the British pub being set up at the Fair. Foley has a wife and new baby at home, but, more importantly, he's the son of a Belgian mother and an English pub-owner father. He leaves his wife and babe at home for six months in 1958 and goes to Brussels. Now, Thomas Foley is up for an adventure and finds it of a sort in Brussels that summer. He gets involved with sneaky spies (are there any other kind?) and ladies looking for some adventure themselves.

Look back to the year 1958. It was the height of the Cold War; the Russians had just launched their space program with Sputnick 1 the previous year and tensions were flaring between the US and the USSR. The close quarters of the Fair, with the US and Soviet exhibit halls placed next to each other, proved to be irresistible to agents of both countries, as well as those from Great Britain. Somehow, middle-aged and mid-level bureaucrat Thomas Foley finds himself at the epicenter of the agents' work.

Jonathan Coe has written a fun book with a serious back story. Some of the characters - the agents, in particularly - are caricatures, but the others are written with a nuance lacking in conventional spy books. Thomas Foley and his Belgian friends are real people, people who you might know or want to know. Sylvia Foley, Thomas's left-behind wife, is a particularly well-written character. The reader can almost feel her desperation as her marriage seems to be lacking in any sort of excitement or love.

"Expo 58" is a good read, with an interesting cast of characters and plot.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Charming, witty anti-spy novel 19 octobre 2014
Par Robert M. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Expo 58 is a charming, refreshing, and breezy take on 1950s Cold War politics and espionage. It's a pretty easy read - refreshingly short actually. The writing is high-quality. The action is very "small" and personal. It is the opposite of your typical Cold War spy thriller, kind of an anti-James Bond novel.

The story is told from the point of view of Thomas Foley, who is a fairly bland middle-aged British suburbanite with a fairly dull life, but who lives inside his own head quite a bit. He wishes his life were more exciting, but he can't seem to escape the fact that he himself is not very exciting. He gets assigned to work at the World's Fair in Belgium, and gets rather inadvertently caught up in international intrigue, without really even knowing it, or knowing his part.

The book is suffused with a marvelous dry British humor. Overall the story is sentimental and mildly sad (as in, you feel sorry for the characters because of the choices they make for the wrong reasons). The characters are well drawn. The characters of Mr Radford and Mr Wayne and Mr Wilkins, the "secret agent" types, are quite silly. I rather laughed out loud when Mr Foley begins reading Ian Fleming's novels as he feels he's being drawn into the cloak-and-dagger world of espionage, and of course his experiences turn out to be rather the opposite of Mr Bond's.

The author does a good job of capturing how I, as an American, imagine the British of the 1950s. Little phrases like "a rum do" and characters calling each other "old man". Everybody is perpetually self-effacing and understated. Pots of tea and goldfish ponds with bronze statues and suburbs called Tooting and gripe water and packages of crisps with little sachets of salt. I think this would make a good art house movie.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Amusing reconstruction of half-forgotten era 12 septembre 2014
Par Alan A. Elsner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This novel recreates an event that few British people remember and few Americans even know about - the Expo 58 international show in Brussels in 1958.

Thomas is a paper-pushing clerk in the British government information office stuck in a lower middle-class lifestyle with a loveless marriage and a colicky baby. He is plucked from the ranks of the bureaucracy to oversea a typical English pub which is part of the British exhibit at the Brussels show. The author has done impeccable research to ensure that all the details of this forgotten event are accurate, down to the buildings erected by the various nations, their furnishings and some of the more interesting exhibits.

Thomas leaves his family behind for six months and is soon thrust into an more exciting world peopled by the attractive Belgian hostess Anneke who takes a shine to him and the mysterious Soviet journalist Alexei who may be a KGB agent. Two British spooks, played strictly for comic effect, are also interested in Thomas' doings. He is soon entangled in a complicated plot to prevent the defection of a beautiful American girl to the Soviet Unions, although all is not what it appears to be.

The book brilliantly captures the particularly dull, insularity of Britain in this time, still clinging to the illusion of Empire, conservative and constricted, before the swinging sixties liberated us all. The incessant smoking, the difficulties of travel from London to Brussels, the fact that people actually had to write letters to each other to communicate, etc etc

This is an amusing read tinged with sadness. Thomas wants to break free but ultimately lacks the courage. The plot is well-constructed and the background interesting. The characters don't quite engage our commitment enough for the book to be truly compelling in a way that would remain with us -- but it's still a very skillful piece of storytelling.
5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Is that all there is? 8 septembre 2014
Par Maine Colonial - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I've been an admirer of Jonathan Coe since The Winshaw Legacy: or, What a Carve Up!. His subtle but wickedly biting satires of various British targets are both entertaining and thought-provoking. But Expo 58 is like one of those satires so diluted as to be almost unrecognizable.

I was looking forward to Jonathan Coe's tale of a low-level civil servant, Thomas Foley, sent to oversee The Britannia pub in Britain's pavilion at Expo 58 in Brussels, who gets tangled up in Cold War shenanigans between east and west. I expected it to be handled humorously, but I didn't expect the humor to be so labored.

The two British agents, Wayne and Radford, who keep popping up to give Foley mysterious heavy hints and mildly threatening instructions, are depicted as a sort of music-hall double-talk-act version of Charters and Caldicott, from the movie The Lady Vanishes. (The Charters and Caldicott comparison seems very intentional, since the actors who depicted them in the film were named Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford.) Unfortunately, their routine wears thin almost immediately, though they continue to pop up from time to time throughout.

Other lame attempts of humor include a series of accidents at The Britannia, double entendres, and and pun groaners like the barmaid named Shirley Knott. Then there is the parade of digs at English types, like the stuffy prep-school types planning the British pavilion, whose idea of modern music is a military tattoo; the bumbling enthusiast of progress who proposes an exhibition on the history of the WC and Britain's proud role in the fight against "number twos"; and Foley himself, who is too English to follow his heart or to tell Wayne and Radford to bug(ger) off.

So, fine, it's not funny. What's far more disconcerting is that it's hard to tell what it's all about. Is there a point in satirizing the Britons of 1958? I suppose there could be, since Graham Greene's Our Man In Havana is still well worth reading, but this is no Our Man In Havana.

At the end, Coe suddenly turns serious and thoughtful, as Thomas Foley looks back on his time in Brussels and regrets the opportunities he turned his back on. It's like there are two different books here. I could have been happy with either one--the Cold War satire or the Englishman-who-didn't-dare story--but a half-hearted combination of the two fails the reader.
Fun read with an unusual premise, but not up to Coe's old standards 1 février 2015
Par Georgiana89 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I'm a big fan of Jonathan Coe's early books, What a Carve Up (or The Winshaw Legacy), and the Rotters Club/The Closed Circle. I've read his more recent releases eagerly and have tended to enjoy them but feel a bit underwhelmed, so I picked this up with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Would this be back to Coe's earlier standard?

The subject of this novel is an unusual one - a 1950s low-ranking Civil Servant, and the 1958 "Expo" held in Belgium. As a modern-day Government employee, the differences and the similarities between the main character's day job and mine made me smile. The world of the 1950s was beautifully recreated, and treated with a similar mix of fond nostalgia and cool-headed scrutiny. The knowing references (such as the woman encouraged to smoke during pregnancy as it's such a stressful time) were occasionally a little heavy-handed, but generally made me giggle. Coe is one of the few genuinely literary authors who can really do humour well.

Although the world of the civil service was a broadly familiar one to me, then the Expo was something completely new. I've seen pictures of the Atomium building that formed it's centrepiece, but didn't really know what it was, and had never heard of the titular event where countries from around the world came together for the first time since WW2. And now, I feel I know everything about it, from the opening speech to the design of each pavilion. Coe certainly seems to have done his research. It was fascinating to find out about this obscure piece of history. At the same time, the themes of European integration or separation, and conflict between Russia and the US seem oddly relevant to today's world.

The plot has two main strands. In one, the main character is torn between his humdrum life at home and the glamour of the Expo, between England and Europe/America, between the past and the future, and more practically, between his suburban stay-at-home wife and a charming Expo hostess.

The other is a slightly odd spy story, which works from the premise that instead of a suave James Bond type figure, it's an ordinary lower-middle class man who gets caught up in an international plot featuring kidnappings and seductions and nuclear technology. The slightly far-fetched turn that things take manage to be oddly believable, and the main character is fundamentally likeable and relateable, despite a decisions that are questionable from the standpoint of both morals and sense. The references to Ian Fleming's books, which both the hero and the two actual spies have read but struggle to relate too were hilarious.

The worst thing about the book was the ending. No spoilers, but suddenly rushed ahead to the present day, felt unnecessary maudlin and cast a bit of a shadow over everything that had gone before. It didn't add much to the story and wasn't that clever. Coe pulled a similar "clever cop-out" ending in Maxwell Sims - give me a sad ending, give me a happy ending, do anything but skirt the issue.

To answer my opening question, I thought this books this was funny, enjoyable and a bit different. As you'd expect from the author, it was well-written and flowed nicely and it was definitely better than Maxwell Sims. Equally though, unlike some of his earlier books, which have lingered in my mind for years - both the one-liners and the profound moments - I never felt really wowwed, never thought of it as more than just a bit of easily-forgotten fun.

So it's worth a read, whether you're a fan or just like the premise and want something different. It's just not wildly memorable or up with the author's best.
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