The Rotters' Club
Birmingham, England, in the 1970s is nothing like That ’70s Show, at least not for Benjamin Trotter and his three King William’s school pals. Sure, everyone wears flared pantaloons, and music magazines print personals that read ”Hairy guy seeks chick.” But in <bThe Rotters' Club,, Jonathan Coe, with the same precise wit that cut through The Winshaw Legacy, uses adolescence to symbolize the deeper struggles — IRA bombings, factory strikes, class divisions — of the decade. As in previous novels, Coe’s narrative, which is supplemented by diary entries, letters, interview transcripts, and one 33-page-long sentence, is constantly on the verge of falling to pieces. While those shards are usually fitted back into a climactic revelation, Rotters’ is intentionally left unresolved. And it will only be completed with the release of the sequel, set in the 1990s.