A Yankee Flier With the R.A.F. by Rutherford G. Montgomery

By Rutherford G. Montgomery

A Yankee Flier with the R.A.F. via Rutherford G. Montgomery

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277) Of course, it is precisely such a novel that Coe sets out to write, a novel that veers dramatically from farce to pathos, realism to metafiction, in a unique The State and the Novel 37 satirical statement. The role of the author in this is an acknowledgement that all citizens, and all aspects of cultural life, have a role to play in fashioning an equitable kind of society. The condemnation of the public’s indifference to politics – expressed as the madness of tolerating greed (p. 485) – places expectations on the writer, too; though it may be that the unique nature of What a Carve Up!

Nevertheless, the changes to British society and culture were dramatic, generating a spirit of either adventurous entrepreneurship or deplorable avarice, depending on your point of view. Novelists tended to take the latter view, lamenting the imminent collapse of the welfare state, and a new era of inequality and social division. Martin Amis’s Money (1984), set in 1981–2, is a transatlantic satire of the emerging Reagan–Thatcher era and its mood of acquisitiveness. The protagonist’s name, John Self, proclaims the intention to make him representative of the period.

He has written two well-received novels, ‘Accidents Will Happen’ and ‘The Loving Touch’ [p. ) Owen has undertaken to write the history of the Winshaw family, but his own life is gradually revealed to be inextricably bound up with their activities. Agribusiness, the running down of the NHS, the embezzlement of a pension fund – these are some of the nefarious endeavours that play a causal role in successive personal tragedies for Owen. Thus, the writing persona becomes the symbolic victim of an era in which the promise of the Beveridge Report – that blueprint for the post-war welfare state – is shown to have been finally extinguished.

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