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E: A Novel Paperback – October 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Folks, this may be the funniest book you ever read bar none. And amazingly, it is told completely in e-mail format. Takes you about 10 pages to get used to it, but after that it flows smooth and easy. Who would have thought that such complete character development was possible via e-mail dialogue?
By the end of the book, you could show me 10 of these missives and I could identify the author of each one. Beaumont is just amazingly creative in this effort. The groundwork he lays for the intricate e-mail exchanges is breathtaking.
Just one character to watch out for (among many): Simon Horne, head of Creative Services. A completely amazing creation...all the more because Beaumont has no doubt drawn him from his experiences in the advertising industry.
I feel the need to spread the word about this great book.
"e" is the story of a group of employees at one of London's top advertising agencies, Miller Shanks, and the two weeks of preparation before the big Coca-Cola pitch. Landing Coke is quite a deal, but left in the...ahem...capable hands of the creative department, it is as good as done. Meanwhile, there are disasters on the horizon with other clients, and, of course, an office isn't an office without co-worker rivalry. "e" provides readers with all the juicy details!
Despite knowing any background information or characteristics of the characters, Matt Beaumont has managed, through the e-mails, to give them all distinct voices. It took several pages to finally put it all together, but their personalities eventually shined through. I loved this novel and all it's two-faced bigwigs, [weak] employees, backstabbing, love triangles, and corportate politics. Hilariously written and one I will definitely read again. I also suggest Syrup by Maxx Barry, another great novel based in the corporate world, this time in behind-the-scenes Coca-Cola itself.
Without giving too much away, "E" is about three weeks inside an advertising agency trying to land a lucrative deal with *Coca-Cola*. But there is much more to it than this. Beaumont gives each secretary, each copywriter, each creative and each manager a really lifelike personality, with their own ways of writing, making each character immediately recognisable both within the novel and in the real life that we live in. We've all met a Simon Horne or a Pinki Fallon in our lives. The medium in which Beaumont has chosen to write his novel admirably and successfully emphasises the constant back-stabbing and twofacedness that takes place on an hourly basis. The speed at which e-mail travels makes the whole experience seem more real and dynamic.
Of course, we are not talking about brilliant writing here... in order to make the novel seem more lifelike, the e-mail writers are given their own idiosyncrasies, and occasionally there are intentional misspellings. It makes the novel seem more authentic. What is brilliant is the story itself as it unravels before us, the snowballing lies, the outrageous behaviour.
"E" has put the E back in e-pistolary.Read more ›
Actually though, Matt Beaumont hasn't fallen very far from the tree with this one, an exposé of life in a purportedly fictional London ad agency over the course of two hectic weeks. You have to believe, then, that he knows what he's talking about. The result is a novel that rings so true you're feeling the characters' pain by page three. (And their panties by page 33.)
There are lots of reasons to love this book. The antipodean version (and I guess that means the UK one) is subtitled "a hilariously funny novel," which you have to admire. Its email-based format means it's a damned quick read. Let's talk about that format a little. There is no, absolutely no, linking text. The entire story is told through emails, complete with addresees, cc's, bcc's and time stamps. I thought this would make for a difficult read, but it doesn't. If you're used to working in an organisation where your emails and vmails outnumber f2f's it doesn't take long to pick up the flow of the story.
I think it's even got some edges over traditional narrative. In the time it takes to read six one-sentence emails you get six different perspectives on the same event, complete with insights into how each character chooses to "spin" their response to each other. Checking the cc and bcc lists tells even more of the story. Bit like real life really.
Good on you Matt Beaumont. Told straight, your book would have just been a bloody funny story about life at the advertising coalface. Wrapping it in a brilliantly crafted whole new genre takes it a long way beyond that. Amazonians; read and enjoy. Amazonians in advertising; make that a double and charge it to your favourite client.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I work in advertising, so this book both entertained and enlightened me. The characters parallel my agency colleagues so well that as I read each email, I could picture a specific... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Crystal Ading
Hilarious. Recommended it to colleagues in advertising and bought a few more copies to share. Might have been published in 2000, but still relevant today!Published 7 months ago by Beanaford
Could not get into this book. I don't know why everyone loves it.Published 7 months ago by Lisa O'Hara
Great book and very funny - even if you didn't work in advertising, you'd still 'get' the politics, rivalry, back-stabbing and general shenanigans on display at a major ad agency... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ron Burton
I thought this was a really good book. After a slowish start it picked up to an excellent back third of the book. A pacy, interesting and funny finish.Published 13 months ago by john eales
This is a hilarious - and real - view of life in an advertising agency seen through emails. It strikes so close to home, it's painful. But wonderfully funny as well. A must read.Published 15 months ago by Pandrang Row
Funny and worthy of the $11. Wish there was a glossary to refer to who is who on characters. Ending needed more of a wrap up, but glad I bought and read, especially when humor... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Nice Mom
Office drama story told through a series of emails makes this story of the advertising firm Miller Shanks - London an hilarious read. Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by John Bernier
I can't begin to explain what this book has done for me. As a copywriter myself, this story made me laugh, cry and want to run away from the ad business screaming. Read morePublished on May 9, 2013 by Shoshanna N Williams