by Jonathan Coe
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in St Andrews
‘A wickedly funny, clever, but also tender and lyrical novel about Britain and Britishness and what we have become’ RACHEL JOYCE
In Bournville, a placid suburb of Birmingham, sits a famous chocolate factory. For eleven-year-old Mary and her family in 1945, it’s the centre of the world. The reason their streets smell faintly of chocolate, the place where most of their friends and neighbours have worked for decades. Mary will go on to live through the Coronation and the World Cup final, royal weddings and royal funerals, Brexit and Covid-19. She’ll have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Parts of the chocolate factory will be transformed into a theme park, as modern life and the city crowd in on their peaceful enclave.
As we travel through seventy-five years of social change, from James Bond to Princess Diana, and from wartime nostalgia to the World Wide Web, one pressing question starts to emerge: will these changing times bring Mary’s family - and their country - closer together, or leave them more adrift and divided than ever before?
‘A beautiful, and often very funny, tribute to an underexamined place and also a truly moving story of how a country discovered tolerance’ Sathnam Sanghera, bestselling author of Empireland
‘A hugely impressive state-of-the-nation tale’ Observer
‘This charming read is as warming, rich and comforting as a mug of hot chocolate’ The Times
by Jonathan Coe
Penguin Books Ltd
Aug. 31, 2023
19.6cm x 12.8cm x 3.2cm