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on 6 December 2012
For large part of this book I just did not get where it was going, the twist when it cones is unexpected and the ending glorious.

But I am left, I am afraid, with the impression that it's just not as good as Reggie Perrin.

Second read through review

I now understand better this book and its story. I think it deserves four stars, still no Reggie Perrin, but good in its own right.
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on 12 January 2013
The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger proves that David Nobbs can still tell a gripping story and wring the comedy potential out of quite ordinary situations. Sir Gordon is suffering a middle-life crisis; married to a woman who bores him and juggling several mistresses,he is living off shareholders' money and borrowed time. From a dysfunctional family himself, Sir Gordon's only stable relationships come from members of his staff. His life revolves around Board Meetings, football matches and pubs - in fact, the plot resembles one glorious pub crawl in which the hero's tastes plunge from £200 a bottle wine to pints of Guinness. It is only when his working class roots begin to show,that Sir Gordon realises the failure of his success. Thought provoking and very funny!
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on 4 September 2013
David Nobbs tackles corporate greed...almost because this book never quite manages to build up any sort of momentum. It's odd really as all the ingredients are there for a great comic thriller: The excesses of capitalism, the skeleton in the cupboard, the fragile ego, the hollowness of capitalism and yet it just never manages to catch fire.

The lack of fire is probably to do with the character of Gordon Coppinger - I never truly believed in the rags to riches story and I never really thought the fall from grace story ever truly convinced. There were several thin strands of sub-plots revolving around Gordon's family, which once more never really gelled.

The thene of corporate greed though ripe for satire never really stretches its comic legs. The usual Nobbs humour is there - most successful when not quite so corny and obvious. The end of the book too is signposted very early and provides a far from satisfactory conclusion to an oddly muted novel.

Overall a tadge disappointing and not entirely sure of itself.
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on 15 February 2014
...this is not his best work. It's a good read and I stuck with it willingly to the end (disappointing end I have to say). Nobbs has a fantastic writing style so I will read anything with his name on it but this was not up to the standard of some of his other work. Recommended though, but only if you are a fan
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on 12 September 2013
A little disappointing. I`ve read most of his books and agree that he is definitely one of our best comic writers. The Reggie Perrin series is hilarious and I honestly rate his Obstacles to Young Love as one of the cleverest and most page-turning books I`ve read. Coppinger promises much but never quite manages to deliver fully - don`t know if it`s because the characters aren`t as interesting or charming as in many of his other books or the story isn`t quite as good (also, The Fall and Rise of....... bit of an unoriginal title, ha, ha!)

1 more small point. Can anybody advise me what is the `hidden message` in using the last sentence of each chapter as that chapter`s title? I just don`t get it! (Thank you)
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on 9 December 2012
I must admit, when I learned the title for David Nobbs' new book, my first thought was: hasn't he already done this? Didn't he once write a book with a very similar title? I, of course, was thinking of "The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin." Reggie might have been one of the most popular and well-loved of his character creations, but my first thought on marking the similarities in the titles was alarm bells. It struck me as an author who has run out of ideas and is striving to recapture some of his earlier, glory days. The Times, in a review of the book, have stated that "nothing that Nobbs has written since [Reggie] has had quite the same impact"; and it's true that this isn't the comic masterpiece that was Reggie Perrin.

Within the book, title aside, there are shades of Reggie - only this time the story is told from the insufferable viewpoint of the CJ character - Gordon Coppinger. Gordon, like CJ, is a man who knows how to make people uncomfortable, and with the clever use of office furniture (hard chair or easy chair?) emphasise their powerlessness in his company. I also detected shades of one of my other favourite characters of Nobbs' creation, Henry Ezra Pratt, within the novel. The grim Climthorpe United scenes really reminded me of the scenes within the Pratt novels relating to Thurmash United.

All of the above said, though, this is a completely different book from either Reggie or Henry Pratt. As time has passed, Nobbs's work has adopted a more serious tone and this is a serious novel about a man who is losing everything but slowly finding his humanity again. Yes, there are some good one-liners in it - Nobbs still hasn't lost his way with words and that neat and witty turn of phrase which characterises his work - but, overall this is a book which is filled with pathos for the human condition in the modern age. Like all Nobbs' work, it's worth reading, on the understanding that it will make you cry as well as laugh out loud.

Like one of the other reviewers, I found that the plot was a little muddled at times and I didn't really get where it was going. Still, I enjoyed it, and that's an end result in itself. It didn't take me long to read and it was a pleasurable way to pass the time.

The part where Hugo warns Gordon that he is about to be arrested and they discuss any plans he might make in anticipation of this is particularly pertinent:

"'Leave my clothes on a beach and start a new life?'
'Well, it's been done before.'"

It certainly has.
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on 2 December 2012
As a fan of David Nobbs' books, I have read nearly all of them over the years and feel that this one ranks amongst his very best. It is extremely well written and contains great insight and wit throughout. Although Sir Gordon has worshipped false gods during his life, especially money, it is difficult not to feel a degree of sympathy towards him as his self-critical side comes steadily to the fore. Although there is much humour throughout, the story line is particularly relevant today, and provides a salutary lesson about the consequences of the pursuit of material gain without regard for the effects on others. I wholeheartedly recommend this book; it is highly entertaining yet most thought provoking - another excellent composition from David Nobbs.
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on 24 August 2013
As per usual David Nobbs never fails to satisfy, like an old-fashioned back scratcher, this book relieves the muscular tension caused by too little humour in our systems. Not sure about this metaphor - but there you are!
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on 9 October 2016
David Nobbs reminds me of Evelyn Waugh. When he is in comic mode, he is wonderful. I laughed through most of the early chapters.

When he gets serious or sentimental, one feels disappointed. This first happened in a chapter where the hero takes his emotionally estranged daughter for a day out. Suddenly everything fell very flat.

Things somewhat recover after that, but the end of the book tries to be tear-jerking, rather than hilarious, and it fails.
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on 27 July 2013
The characters were well observed and the situations very funny. A book very relevant in our economic and moral morass.
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