Wednesday 6 January 2010

E2 - Matt Beaumont

E2 is a loose sequel to E - we pick up with some of the characters about eight years after the events of E. These characters include David Crutton (MD Extraordinaire), Liam O'Keefe (Advertising Wide Boy) and Susi Judge-Davis (Moronic and Overly-sensitive PA - who is now triple barrelled and sort of related to JP Gaultier). In this book, as well as emails, Beaumont has added in blogs, ebay entries, and text messages to show the communication between each of the characters.

The basic story (beneath the goings-on that fill up the rest of the plot) is that David Crutton is going through marriage/kid problems; and Liam O'Keefe is struggling with mounting debts.

I had a blast reading E and, superficially, also enjoyed this sequel, but I feel I am unlikely to read it again because it was just so far-fetched. I mean, E was also pretty unrealistic, but this takes it even further.

We have a character who is constantly absent from the office on courses; Harvey Harvey who responds to spam email as though it is for real (and ends up travelling to Nigeria); a character so scared of flying that, through a series of bizarre incidents, ends up being arrested as a member of Al Quaeda (despite being Jewish); and so on.

Some parts of the novel are genuinely funny - I love Roisin the hard-nosed and foul-mouthed receptionist, and Dotty (David's PA) is so dense it becomes amusing. In fact, the bitchy PAs are the best part of this book.

However, Beaumont does not hit the right note with other parts of the book - Neil Godley (the twin brother of Nigel, from E) is boring, rather than a character you can instantly recognise from your own office; Liam's thefts become farcical rather than funny; and the Big Brother subplot is genuinely ridiculous.

It is diverting enough and a very quick read, but not on a par with E. Pretty disappointing.

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