Monthly Archives: September 2013

Expo 58

Well I’m slowly getting back into some kind of routine now the August holidays/mayhem/anarchy is over, although due to stuff that will be going on over the next few months (new house – say no more) perhaps I won’t be able to give as much attention to this blog as I would like.

Any road up, this morning – quite by chance – I discovered that Brummy-born novelist Jonathan Coe is about to publish his new novel Expo 58. Coe is one of those authors whose novels I have consistently enjoyed and indeed devoured one by one over the years. What  A Carve Up, The Rotters’ Club (also made into a decent TV drama series) and The House of Sleep to name but a few. I must get round to re-reading those some time or other although right now of course I’m looking foward to Expo 58, described by the man himself as

…… a rather elegaic story, shot through with the sense of regret that seems inevitable when we look back on the hopes and dreams of an earlier era ­ whether these dreams involve the peaceful co-existence of nations, or the possibility of love between individuals. ”

The story is in fact set in 1958, in and around the Brussels Expo of that year, a time when Europe was at last  shaking off the post-war depression and really looking forward to a modern era. A new optimism and The Swinging Sixties were just around the corner. I often wish I’d been a young adult in those years – it must have been very exciting.

Doing a bit of web-researching into (read: googling) “Expo 58”, I see that it was in fact the reason why the Atomium monument / sculpture was erected, and what a wondrous sight it is too.

There are also lots of fabulous retro-graphics from the era , like this advert for the Soviet Union’s pavilion. They were obviously reaching out for a whole brand new world as can be seen in this:


and this:

visit soviet pavilion

I can’t wait to find out if the Soviet Pavilion is featured in Jonathan Coe’s novel! 

Expo 58 is out in paperback on Viking, 5th September (I think) and in Kindle format. Expo 58

More of the Soviet Pavilion propaganda here .