The criticism devoted to Coe’s work may be broadly divided into two categories: while some critics mainly draw attention to the political dimension of the books, seeing them as a satirical portrait of contemporary British society, others are more interested in formal aspects relating to genre, narration, self-reflexivity and intermediality. If Coe’s novels have been extensively reviewed over the years and he himself frequently interviewed, academic criticism of his work has only recently begun to emerge. Serge Chauvin published the first analysis of What a Carve Up! in 1998 (in French), examining the contemporary forms of the detective novel in the book — a generic approach further developed by Vanessa Guignery in 2002 — but it is really only since 2006 (starting with Pamela Thurschwell’s insightful essay on What a Carve Up!) that academics have started taking Coe’s work into serious consideration. His fiction thus features in recent surveys of contemporary British fiction, most notably Dominic Head’s Cambridge Introduction toModern British Fiction (2002), Nick Rennison’s Contemporary BritishNovelists (2005), Philip Tew’s The Contemporary British Novel (2007) and Richard Bradford’s The Novel Now — Contemporary British Fiction (2007). To this date, only one academic paper (by Lidia Vianu in 2008) has been devoted to Coe’s first novel The Accidental Woman, while most analyses centre on What a Carve Up!, The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle.
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