1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
An interesting satire and social commentary, 10 Dec. 2000
Barnes's "England, England" is a humorous novel about historical and personal identity, and how both can be lost through overidealization of the past. Sir Jack Pitman, an egomaniacal tycoon, decides to build a theme park in which English history comes alive, and which subsequently becomes more popular than England itself. Caught up in this scheme are cynical Martha Cochrane, who is trying to find love, happiness, and personal identity among the mess, and Paul Harrison who is torn between his love for Martha and his loyalty to Sir Jack. The book itself is clever, but almost too clever at points, as Barnes sometimes sacrifices a decent plot line or character integrity in order to crack a cheap joke. The characters themselves, with the possible exceptions of Martha and Paul, are bland stereotypes, but since this is a satirical book, that can be forgiven. Barnes's writing style is easy to read, but some of the historical references can be lost on those unfamiliar with some of the finer points of British history. All in all, this is an entertaining, but not excellent book.