Private lives

30 08 2010

The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe

From Amazon:

Maxwell Sim seems to have hit rock bottom. Estranged from his father, newly divorced, unable to communicate with his only daughter, he realizes that while he may have seventy-four friends on Facebook, there is nobody in the world with whom he can actually share his problems. Then a business proposition comes his way – a strange exercise in corporate PR that will require him to spend a week driving from London to a remote retail outlet on the Shetland Isles. Setting out with an open mind, good intentions and a friendly voice on his SatNav for company, Maxwell finds that this journey soon takes a more serious turn, and carries him not only to the furthest point of the United Kingdom, but into some of the deepest and darkest corners of his own past. In his sparkling and hugely enjoyable new book Jonathan Coe reinvents the picaresque novel for our time.

It is an amusing read yet painful and excruciating at times. Very enjoyable overall though and, as ever with Coe, extremely well written, carefully crafted and yet seemingly effortless in its delivery. Only minor let down is the really quite unnecessary post-modern authorial indulgence at the end. Highly recommended.

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