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Jonathan Coe's Quotes

Jonathan Coe profile photo

Born: 1961-08-19
Profession: Novelist
Nation: English
Biography of Jonathan Coe

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I'm one of those unlucky people who had a happy childhood.

Tags: Childhood, Happy, Unlucky

As the books grew bigger and more ambitious, the situations in question sometimes became political ones, and so it became necessary to start painting in the social background on a scale which eventually became panoramic.

Tags: Political, Sometimes, Start

Ah, well, I have no talent for nonfiction, that's my problem.

Tags: Nonfiction, Problem, Talent

As soon as you start writing about how human beings interact with each other socially, you're into politics, aren't you?

Tags: Human, Politics, Writing

But at the same time, I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don't write short stories because they turn into novels.

Tags: Short, Time, Why

But we are entitled to look for continuity in politics.

Tags: Continuity, Entitled, Politics

But you can try to read books at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons.

Tags: Time, Try, Wrong

It seems to me that you would have to write a novel on a very small, intimate scale for it not to become political.

Tags: Become, Political, Small

Luckily, in my case, I have managed, by writing, to do the one thing that I always wanted to do.

Tags: Case, Wanted, Writing

Thatcherism has become bigger than she ever was.

Tags: Become, Bigger, She

The more melancholy side of my literary personality is much in tune with BS Johnson's.

Tags: Literary, Melancholy, Side

They were written in the early '90s when I was strapped for cash.

Tags: Cash, Early, Written

Writers never feel comfortable having labels attached to them, however accurate they are.

Tags: Attached, However, Writers

You would go mad if you began to speculate about the impact your novel might have while you were still writing it.

Tags: Mad, While, Writing

As I said, I had no publisher for What a Carve Up! while I was writing it, so all we had to live off was my wife's money and little bits I was picking up for journalism.

Tags: Money, Wife, Writing

But I have always - ever since The Accidental Woman - written novels about individuals attempting to make choices in the context of situations over which they have no control.

Tags: Control, Since, Woman

Contemporary Britain seems an endlessly fascinating place to me - but if I knew a little bit more about other places, and other times, maybe it wouldn't.

Tags: Knew, Place, Times

I became quite taken over by Johnson's personality at some points while writing the biography, and since I went straight on to The Closed Circle afterwards, I did sometimes feel I could hear him whispering in my ear while I was working on it.

Tags: Him, Working, Writing

I have two ideas for novels at the moment, neither of them all that conventional, but I'm not ready to choose between them yet, let alone settle down to the process of writing.

Tags: Alone, Moment, Writing

I live a perfectly happy and comfortable life in Blair's Britain, but I can't work up much affection for the culture we've created for ourselves: it's too cynical, too knowing, too ironic, too empty of real value and meaning.

Tags: Happy, Life, Work

I think it's also the case that I'm not as widely travelled, or as well-educated in history, as most of the other novelists I meet: so I have to write about my own country, at the present time, because it's more or less all I know about!

Tags: Country, History, Time

It's only a drawback in the States, where most people seem to have no real interest in other countries and the notion of a novel which might offer insight into life in the UK doesn't seem to appeal very widely.

Tags: Life, Might, Real

My only regret is that I signed away the world rights and in America they've been far and away my most successful books, but I never saw a cent from any of it.

Tags: America, Regret, Successful

The biggest markets for my books outside the UK are France and Italy, and those are the two countries where I also have the closest personal relationships with my translators - I don't know whether that's a coincidence, or if there's something to be learned from it.

Tags: Learned, Personal, Whether

The writer I feel the most affinity with - you said you felt my books are 19th century novels, I think they're 18th century novels - is Fielding, Henry Fielding, he's the guy who does it for me.

Tags: Books, Guy, Said