From the bestselling, award-winning author of Middle England comes a profoundly moving, brutally funny and brilliantly true portrait of Britain told through four generations of one family.
‘A wickedly funny, clever, but also tender and lyrical novel about Britain and Britishness and what we have become’ Rachel Joyce
In Bournville, a placid suburb of Birmingham, sits a famous chocolate factory. For eleven-year-old Mary and her family in 1945, it’s the centre of the world. The reason their streets smell faintly of chocolate, the place where most of their friends and neighbours have worked for decades. Mary will go on to live through the Coronation and the World Cup final, royal weddings and royal funerals, Brexit and Covid-19. She’ll have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Parts of the chocolate factory will be transformed into a theme park, as modern life and the city crowd in on their peaceful enclave.
As we travel through seventy-five years of social change, from James Bond to Princess Diana, and from wartime nostalgia to the World Wide Web, one pressing question starts to emerge: will these changing times bring Mary’s family – and their country – closer together, or leave them more adrift and divided than ever before?
Bournville is a rich and poignant new novel from the bestselling, Costa award-winning author of Middle England. It is the story of a woman, of a nation’s love affair with chocolate, of Britain itself.
‘It is miraculous how, in his new novel, Coe has created a social history of postwar Britain as we are still living it. Bournville is a beautiful, and often very funny, tribute to an underexamined place and also a truly moving story of how a country discovered tolerance’ Sathnam Sanghera, bestselling author of Empireland
‘Epic in scope, but personal in resonance’ Elizabeth Day, bestselling author of Magpie
‘A hugely impressive state-of-the-nation tale’ Observer
‘As warming, rich and comforting as a mug of hot chocolate’ The Times
‘Sprinkled throughout with Coe’s inimitable humour, love and white-hot anger’ Evening Standard
‘[Coe] has a huge talent for balancing humour with poignancy’ Book of the month, Good Housekeeping