E was a blast of a read. We join the advertising agency of Miller Shanks in the dawn of a new millenium, and follow the various staff members during the month of January as they chase a pitch for Coke. The novel is told entirely in the form of emails between the various characters.
The style of the book creates an extremely fast, easy read which is exceptionally hard to put down. Once you have got each character straight in your mind, you are able to zip through the emails.
For anyone who works in an office, it is easy to see each stereotypical character in your own workplace - particularly Ken Perry (the office administrator who believes he is in charge of the entire building) and Nigel (the creep who works in accounts and sends out company-wide emails trying to sell various undesirable items).
It really surprised me that Beaumont was able to create such strong characters while using the format he did. Even though there was no narration as such, each character came across extremely effectively. While hating them, I loved reading the emails between Simon Horne and his PA Susi - extremely funny.
In fact, the whole novel (while not laugh-out-loud) was very amusing and I read it with a smile on my face. The office politics, back-stabbing, office romances - everything was very familiar and hence a joy to read about.
In fact, my only real complaint comes from the sheer amount of swearing on display. Sure, it made a lot of the gossipy emails much more realistic, and I reckon advertising agencies do use that sort of language, but it was pretty relentless - especially with some of the wide-boy characters writing to each other.
Altogether, though, I would recommend this book as a nice little interlude between more serious and worthy novels. It was easy to read, very funny and had a happy ending!
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