This is a book that I have been looking forward to reading for quite some time now – hence the fact that I have read it in twenty four hours, even eschewing all of the hundreds of offers of going out on a Friday night (yeah, there was loads of them, honest!) in order to finish it.
The reason I was so excited is that I read his first novel – unbelievably called ‘e’ – roughly nine years ago. It was set in an advertising agency in London, and written entirely through the medium of e-mails. It also was, and remains to this day, one of the very funniest books I have ever read. e2 (e2 as in a sequel, or e2 as in e squared? I’m not positive) is set in a similar advertising company ten years later, and with many of the same characters, but the addition of blogs, text messages and MSN chat.
It is an incredibly funny book in its content – ridiculous business stereotypes, advertising campaigns pushing cigarettes to children, a ludicrous Finn, permanently enraged MD and a tonne of pretentious advertising conceits – but the truly brilliant thing about these books is the style. Reading everything as an email is a nightmare to get into, and you will spend the first twenty pages or so wondering who everyone is, and getting everything mixed up. Then you warm to the style, start to recognise who everyone is, and realise that it is a wonderful way of writing a book. It is a way of having a book with fifty odd characters all speaking in the first person, and therefore you really get to know them properly.
The only criticisms are that the story isn’t quite as clever as the first one, and that overall it is not quite as funny. Bearing in mind the high esteem in which I hold the first book, this is not the worst thing in the world. Matt Beaumont is an amazing writer that I would recommend to anyone, so do read this, but make sure that you read ‘e’ first.
Matt Beaumont’s Home Page – http://www.letstalkaboutme.com/