Top Quotes by Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

But we are entitled to look for continuity in politics.

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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!

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

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

Jonathan Coe

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.

Jonathan Coe

Thatcherism has become bigger than she ever was.

Jonathan Coe