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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2013
I know it was a short story, and I know it had to be centred around the Jubilee line, but this was just a bit contrived and not Mr O'Farrells usual excellent writing....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2013
This is a fantastical dream sequence, which would give any former student hothead who has gone a bit soft in middle age something to laugh about.
As if the thought of Noam Chomsky in a punch up wasn't enough, we then get Maggie making an appearance on the jubilee line.

Not a classic novel, but a really good read. And just the right length for tube reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
On the Jubilee Line our author faces a life-threatening situation – the collapse of the world order, or perhaps the collapse of a section of tunnel, or maybe both.

In order to escape, the author – and his fellow passengers - needs to make a decision about which way to go to reach safety. Although constrained by a tunnel they need to choose a path defined by either the Left or by the Right.

So begins a (sort of) debate about the way forward and which political light should guide it. The cast of characters in the tube train is drawn from the heroes and heroines of both sides of politics, as well as members of the public.

Much of the detail of the financial comings and goings that built the new parts of the Jubilee Line occurred after I left the UK, but even from the distant shores of Australia there was enough detail in the book for me to follow the lines of argument and disagreement.

It’s reasonable to say that this books reaches no firm conclusions on its central debate, but it does entertain on the way to a point of no conclusion.

I have to say that the end of the book is rather predictable, using a device beloved of Soap Operas when an unlikely plot line needs to come to en end.

A brief and generally entertaining read.
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on 22 July 2014
London's Jubilee Line as the most brilliant metaphor for capitalism and where we all are. Fellow passengers include Noam Chomsky, Roger Scruton, Maggie Thatcher and Anthony who may be poor deluded Giddens. An inspired idea carried out beautifully.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2013
A great short story, full of funny remarks and an oddly thought provoking debate among the characters. While this is definitely not a book to take on holiday (you'll finish it on the flight), I can't recommend it enough for some entertainment on a commute or light reading.

As ever with Penguin, the binding is superb and cover art dead on.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2013
John Farrell's writing obviously enrages those on the right as one review of this book demonstrates. But this warm and witty history of the Jubilee Line, also puts all sides to the debate of who can best run Britain - individualists or collectivists. Originally to be called The Fleet Line, the Jubilee Line was named, without consulting the public, by the Tory leader of the GLC and completed two years AFTER the 1977 Queen's silver jubilee. In the final analysis, who should run Britain - democratically elected politicians at Westminster or The City bankers and international spiv capitalists at Canary Wharf? Since New Labour (with the Tories demanding even less restrictions) allowed the latter unrestricted freedoms - from lending money to those who can never pay to employment based on Zero Hours contracts - the Left has won the argument but nobody is listening any more. This book is never angry, but it carries with it a sadness of what might have been. "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe themselves to be free". Goethe's word's ring truer than ever.
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on 23 June 2015
Clever little book, good story and great metaphorical illustrations of political thinking. In Mr O'Farrell's usual witty and slightly self depracating style.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2013
A sideways look at the economic and political ties that influence us all in the waking and sleeping worlds. A good read.
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on 8 July 2015
Interesting very good
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8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2013
If you are reading any of the reviews of this book then you're probably thinking to yourself "Will I like this book? Will I enjoy reading it? Will I want to keep it to read again or will I give to the local Oxfam?"

It's all very well me telling you what I think about it but you want to know what YOU will think about it before you spend your money on it. Don't worry - I have created a quiz which you can take which will tell you if this book, or any book, by John O'Farrell is for you:

1) If you were to hear a comedian say "Cor, that George W Bush, eh? What an IDIOT!" is your reaction to roll around on the floor, howling with laughter at such a penetrating and wittily expressed bon mot?

2) Do you laugh with Michael Moore rather than at him?

3) Do you think Zadie Smith is the most vital and important author in the English language? Score double if you hold this opinion and have actually read her book rather than just seen a picture of her.

4) Have you ever spent precious, irreplaceable moments of your life watching Question Time and felt that by doing so you were fulfilling some sort of civic duty to remain informed on the crucial matters of the day?

5) Do you like to use terms like "social justice" or "social cohesion" in everyday conversation? What about "such-and-such-arbitrarily-defined-collective might be offended by this-that-or-the-other"? Hmm? Or even "that should be banned"?

6) Would you describe yourself as a socialist? But are you perhaps too coy to use that word and prefer "liberal", "radical" or "progressive" instead despite it being fundamentally illiterate to do so?

7) Do you think the IRA were/are the good guys? Do you think that people from mainland Britain, especially soldiers, deserved to die in the 1970s and 1980s because some people in Ulster would really rather it wasn't part of the UK?

8) Do you think tax is more important than private income? Charity more important than productivity? Bureaucracy more vital than industry? Chavs more virtuous than people who work in the money markets?

9) Do you think that other people, we might use the dehumanizing term "them", really ought to be stopped from living their lives according to their own values and instead be forced by the police power of the state to live their lives according to your values? Would you join, or have you joined, some sort of minority gang like a pressure group, trade union or a political party, in order to pursue that aim?

10) Do you think that democracy is more important than self-determination? Or even that it is the same thing?

If you have answered "yes" to any of the above questions then you can confidently expect to enjoy this or any other John O'Farrell book and probably some of Polly Toynbee's as well - please click on the button which says "Add to Basket" right now.
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