The Closed Circle is the follow-up of The Rotters Club characters' story twenty five years later on paper. In the real world three years are passed by between the release of the two books.
Well, the question is: what's happened to Jonathan Coe in the meanwhile?
Apparently he has lost his touch in just a few dozens months.
Where The Rotters Club was funny and ironic, The Closed Circle is merely ambitious. Where The Rotters Club was sensible and melancholic, The Closed Circle is unemotional.
The same idea to begin the novel with a long and frankly quite boring letter from an idyllic Italy is poor.
For those who had liked The Rotter Club from its very first pages finding an immediate empathy toward the three main characters, this second book will probably be a delusion.
The old characters are now in their fourties and it seems they don't have anything more to say. Perhaps all has been said about them.
The only exception to this unwanted rule is Paul Trotter who has became a young and paranoid MP. It's a pity that the half metamorphosis of Trotter jr is quite unrealistic. Ok, there's a social critic to the New Labour Party political issues, but how it could be possible that Tories like Paul have become Tonies?
This is not explained at all. And at this point the twenty five years blackhole chosen by Coe reveals its biggest Achille's heel.
What about the new characters? I've to admit that they haven't left a single trace in me.
Briefly, I've been really disappointed by this novel.
I've got the English edition of the book and this is the only reason why I still put my eyes on it. But my opinion remains the same: what a pity.