This Brexit anthology is a genuinely odd undertaking. On the Remain side, forming the overwhelming majority of pieces here, there’s an oft-repeated fear that the memory of French exchanges has been irretrievably sullied; Jessie Burton marvelling at eating snails, Matt Haig gulping down scallops in a creamy wine sauce, and so on. Far too many soft-focus, romantic views, essentially, which find their mirror in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s deliberately provocative (and terribly written) assertion that Brexit is a Waterloo-style victory that glories in ignoring the experts.
Goodbye Europe might have been a good idea in the months before Brexit – a chance for writers and artists to make arguments that might have reached people outside the social media echo chamber. Now, it just seems a bit pointless, and it’s Nicci Gerrard who nails the truth unspoken in most of these nice but largely irrelevant essays: she didn’t really realise how passionate a Remainer she was until the result of the referendum. Quite.