Home Forums General Discussion Number 11 : travelling through time

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    I was shopping for Christmas gifts a few days ago when my eyes stopped on a very familiar name in the aisle of a library. How come I didn’t know Coe had written a new book ? I hadn’t finished expo 58, it was a strange and sad time in my life, maybe my mind wasn’t ready then, or maybe the book wasn’t good enough, for my standards I mean, obviously.
    But as soon as I started to read "Number 11", I knew the same thing wouldn’t happen. Because I had recognized a feeling, I had travelled through time, almost fifteen years ago, when I first read "Bienvenue au Club", a book that moved me to tears. And I realize just now, that I’m currently in the very room in which I read that book. My childhood room, where I came back for Christmas, at my mom’s house.
    It was on the train that I started "Number 11", and I knew immediately that my old friends were back, that Mr Coe were gonna use his magical tricks on me. One could say that he’s using old recipes in this book. I think not. I’m amongst those who believe that you are always writing and rewriting the same book, working the same thread, because in the same way, the day you become an adult is the day you’re gonna start to try to relive your childhood and teenage days, over and over, the day you’re gonna reflect on your dreams and decide if you’re brave enough to try to make them real.
    I’m halfway through the the book. And I know there’s no way I’ll be disappointed. It already took me back to my 15 years old me, dreaming in his bedroom, happy in his loneliness.
    Now 30, I’m back to being lonely, not as happy about it as I used to be, but delighted to meet this old friend again, a book to accompany me in the hours of the night.
    Once I’m done, I’ll read, and this time finish, "expo 58", and then I got the feeling 2016 will be the year I go back to reading, to reading avidly, and maybe to write, and maybe to compose.
    And all that, all the promises, I owe them to Jonathan Coe, a long time companion, discovered, lost, found, ignored, found again.

    Thank you for your words, your magic, these stories…..
    And sorry for my poor english, written a smartphone, in my old childhood bed, after a couple of glasses of whisky.



    Dear Jonny

    I’m really glad that you’ve been enjoying Number 11, and I hope you enjoyed it right up until the end.

    And it’s deeply touching to know that my books have meant so much to you over the years. Thank you so much for these words.

    Good luck with your own writing and composing. Loneliness can be a great stimulation to creativity.



    (For those who haven’t YET read "Number 11" : very very vague spoiler inside)

    Dear Jonathan,

    I just finished "Number 11"…. like 11 minutes ago. It had been a long time since I last read a book so fast. In the last years, I must sadly say I don’t read as much and as fast as I used to.
    It’s a great book, and I particularly appreciated the insertion (is that a word ?) of the fantasy-horror side in the end.
    I feel particularly grateful to you, to this book, because now I feel it’s the sign that 2016 will be a good year for my reading. Yesterday, between the awful amount of money I spent on clothes (hell why not, lonely bachelor here, need for a hobby, needed red pants desperately), I also acquired a serious number of books, now piling on the side of my couch/bed. That’s your doing. Thank you so much.
    I’ll give "Expo 58" another shot in the next weeks, I promise, I must have missed something, not enough England I guess, I didn’t need Belgium at the time, have I ever ? We’ll find out. I also should go see the adaptation they did of "The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim", but I must admit going against Star Wars, my pop culture instinct didn’t hesitate. Sorry old pal. Were you involved at all in that ?

    About "Sim" actually, and also in "11", I can’t keep myself from noticing a sort of technophobia. Quite natural for a man your age (wink, wink, I’m 30 and already lost with all the new technologies, don’t worry)… why ?
    Don’t be a luddite ! Without the Internet I wouldn’t know your work with Louis Philippe, I wouldn’t have been able to purchase (legally, that’s sadly worth mentioning) "Unnecessary music", I wouldn’t be able to listen to sink and swim…. And there goes Louis Philippe in the credits, what a surprise… I swear I didn’t know ;-).
    I’m kidding there of course, I quite understand the fears that accompany the emergence of world changing technologies, and you manage to reflect it very purely in your books.
    Are you gonna do press in France (Paris) for when the book is translated ? I need my copy signed !!

    With great thanks, and an even greater admiration,

    (Jonathan is purely an administrative form of designation)
    (Parenthesis again. Sorry for bad english. The culprit : Currently sipping BAD whiskey, CQFD… also… being French).

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