Let me get this straight: I think Jonathan Coe has written some really great stories (even though I've never picked up the courage to read "What a carve up!", i.e. "La famiglia Winshaw" in the Italian translation), and so I was very pleased to see this book in the shelves of my bookshop.
All the premises were fine, and so was the first half of the book or something more. The setting in particular was quite fascinating to me: the World Fair held in Belgium in the late Fifties, when the seeds of modern-day Europe were being sown. Add to this a light-hearted spy story and you should be set for a good journey, shouldn't you?
Well... sort of. The main problem is that several plot twists are rather predictable (and not only in the espionage storyline): yes, I understand that maybe it was not the main point in such a story, but it still left me quite unsatisfied. I also wasn't very fond of the characterization of the British secret agents: to my taste, there was a bit of a clash between the parodic elements in their description and their "serious" (i.e. with important consequences) actions.
Overall, a bit below three stars. Still an enjoyable reading, but I am left with the feeling that it could have been much more than that!...Continua
A fun trip in our not so distant past, where there were no smartphones and no internet and people could really wonder before a world that was already fast-changing and full of discoveries. May not be Coe's finest moment but it sure is a pleasurable read, especially in the way he depicts the atmosphere of those long gone days, which I found absolutely remarkable....Continua
Da architetto, leggere la storia dell'expo di Bruxelles, mi è piaciuto. La storia un po' banale.