The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim is Jonathan Coe's latest heart-breaking and hilarious novel
Maxwell Sim could be any of us. He could be you.
He's about to have a mid-life crisis (though eh doesn't know it yet). He'll be found in his car in the north of Scotland, half-naked and alone, suffering hypothermia, with a couple of empty whisky bottles and a boot full of toothbrushes.
It's a far cry from a restaurant in Sydney, where his story starts.
But then Maxwell Sim has, unknowingly, got a long way to go. If he knew now about his lonely journey to the Shetland Isles, or the truth about his father and the folded photograph, or the mystery of Poppy and her peculiar job, or even about Emma's lovely, fading voice, then perhaps he's stay where he was - hiding from destiny.
But Max knows none of it. And nor do you - at least not yet. . .
Equal parts funny and moving, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim will be cherished by readers everywhere, from fans of David Nicholls to Will Self.
'Witty, unexpected and curiously unsettling. Coe carries it off with empathy, comedy and a ventriloquist's ear for idiom' Literary Review
'Clever, engaging, spring-loaded with mysteries and surprises' Time Out
'Masterly, highly engaging. Coe's eye for the details of contemporary life remains as sharp as ever' Daily Mail
Jonathan Coe's novels are filled with biting social commentary, moving and astute observations of life and hilarious set pieces that have made him one of the most popular writers of his generation. His other titles, The Accidental Woman, The Rotters' Club (winner of the Everyman Wodehouse prize), The House of Sleep (winner of the1998 Prix Médicis Étranger), A Touch of Love, What a Carve Up! (winner of the 1995 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize) and The Rain Before it Falls, are all available in Penguin paperback.
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It takes real panache to write with such comedic ease; his pacing throughout is superb and delivers realististic dialogue, and, hence believable charcters... Coe's sympathy for his creation is contagious (Robert Epstein Indpendent on Sunday )
Max is silly but he makes him more than a figure of ridicule. Instead, he understands him, shows us what it is to be ineloquent in company, to have bland tastes and a childlike need fot sameness, to not be very good at things. Through that understanding he gives us witty and tender humanity, and reminds us that while winners write the history, it is life's losers, such as Max, who have the best stories (Simon Baker Spectator )
Coe takes a risk in using the nerdish Sim as principal spokesman, but he carries it off by empathy, comedy and a venriloquist's ear for idiom. The conclusion to this fine novel, an ending in which Jonathan Coe himself plays a speaking part, is witty, unexpected and curiously unsettling
(Pamela Norris Literary Review )
Jonathan Coe was born in Birmingham in 1961. He is the author of eight bestselling novels including What a Carve Up! and The Rotters' Club, and a biography of the novelist B. S. Johnson, Like a Fiery Elephant, which won the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for best non-fiction book of the year.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0141033924
Book Description Penguin Books, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0141033924
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