The Terrible Privacy Of Maxwell Sim

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9780141033921: The Terrible Privacy Of Maxwell Sim

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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Review:

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 )

The Terrible Privacy is more intimate than Coe's previous novels. Coe may blackly satirise an atomised 21st-century Britain pockmarked by Travelodges and in thrall to the empty caress of instant messaging but this geographical and cultural hinterland is really a physical correlative for Sim's existential crisis (Claire Allfree Metro )

cunningly plotted, extremely well-written and very, very funny (Mark Sanderson Daily Telegraph )

An engaging novel (Lianne Kolirin The Express )

Coe's book is as funny and as well written as you'd expect: even the banality of Maxwell's mind is rendered deadpan, with wonderful lightness. It is archly and artfully structured, too; though I can't, without spoiling a plot that delivers revelations and switch backs in careful sequence, go deeply into how (Sam Leith Prospect Magazine )

Coe has always been a virtuoso of voice. He is the master of the kind of distinctively English comedy that has its roots in Fielding and Sterne (Jonathan Derbyshire New Statesman )

Funny and touching ( Grazia )

A highly engaging portrait of both a man and a society that have lost their way (Michael Arditti Daily Mail )

The plot is everything Max is not: clever, engaging, and spring-loaded with mysteries and surprises (Caroline McGinn Time Out London )

exceptionally moving...[managing] to tell us something about loneliness, failure and the inability to cope that we haven't quite read before (Alex Clark The Guardian )

Very funny ( RED )

About the Author:

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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