Thursday 8 October 2009

e² - Matt Beaumont

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the office" ... e² is the sequel to e (funnily enough !), which I haven't read, but that didn't stop me hugely enjoying the book.

The originality of the novel resides in the fact that it is entirely written in emails, text messages, chat messages and blog posts and I must admit, I was sceptical of this just being a gimmick that wouldn't really work. How could the author develop characters rounded enough to keep us interested if there's absolutely no narration ? The answer is - very easily !

In the madcap world of the Meerkat360 ad agency, messages - some professional, some personal - are forever flying around in cyberspace, revealing the ups and downs of not just the employees but also their nearest and dearest. It makes me wish I could be a fly on the wall - or maybe a little (computer) mouse on the desk - in the IT department of any big company. We get to discover some real office oddballs, my particular favourites being the wonderfully naive "double H" Harvey Harvey (yes that it is his name - to steal a line from the book, I haven't developed "keyboard stutter" !), who replies to all the spam messages from scammers and pornbots taking everything at face value, and Caroline Zitter, whose entire presence throughout the book is in automated OutofOffice replies.

The office politics and crazy shenanigans stay on just the right side of the believable - totally ridiculous dividing line, which makes it even funnier, because pretty much anyone who has ever worked in an office environment will recognise at least some of the traits of their colleagues in the Meerkat360 employees. The appalingly bad taste publicity campaigns are hilarious and even when the characters are facing personal tragedies or having suicidal thoughts, it will have you laughing out loud.

It looks like a long read - there are over 500 pages - but the short messages mean you can dip in and out of it when you have a spare moment - and the sheer lunacy of the story will keep you reading much longer than the couple of minutes you originally intended. The words "hilarious new novel" figure on the front cover and for once, the book actually delivers what it promises.

e² - maybe that stands for Excellent to the power of two !

star rating : 5/5

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Bantam Press (14 Aug 2009)
ISBN-10: 059306478X
ISBN-13: 978-0593064788

RRP : £11.99

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...