"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 ...
"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 the 1998 Prix Medicis Etranger), "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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Publishers Weekly, 2011-01-31 Coe (The Rotters' Club) broadly satirizes the disconnectedness of modern life with the story of Maxwell Sim, who has 70 Facebook friends but no one he can turn to when his wife and daughter leave him. After a trip to Australia to reconnect with his estranged father leads nowhere, Trevor, one of Max's few real friends, offers him an unusual gig: drive a Prius to the northernmost tip of the British Isles as part of a promotion for a startup eco-toothbrush company. Max takes a meandering route that allows him to visit his ex-wife, check in on his father's long-empty apartment, and pay a visit to the parents of his childhood friends. He also develops a romantic fixation on the voice coming from his GPS, which he names Emma. True connection is elusive: Max gains insight to his marriage, but only after using a fake identity to befriend his ex-wife online; haunting incidents from his teenage years come into focus belatedly, and the clarity he finally achieves comes at the prompting of a stranger. Coe has a lot of fun skewering the way technology and social media have become buttresses of society, but the antic plot and unfortunately precious conclusion water down the thoughtful points. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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