Books: England, England

By Julian Barnes

Do we sense a strain of self-contempt these days in English satire? Not self-doubt, of course, and certainly not humility, just a weary roll of the eyes that follows a glance in the mirror? So it seems with Barnes' very funny, very sour new novel, which re-creates England as a theme park on the Isle of Wight. The park is the brainstorm of Sir Jack Pitman, an overweening press lord, and his staff members, one of whom has doubts: "How do we advertise the English...a people widely perceived...as cold, snobbish, emotionally retarded, and xenophobic? As well as perfidious .." No fear;...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!