Jonathan Coe - The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim

Rating 6.0

Phew wee! Jonathan Coe did it again.

A pretty decent effort of a novel spoiled by an abrupt, clumsy (and metafictional!) ending.

Pity, because The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim (no better titles available) does have its good moments and includes some brilliant dialogues and ideas.

Just like Mr. Coe would be able to write.

Alas, there's just too much writing here: too many characters, too many subplots nonchalantly left open, too many letters/emails/essays/short stories to fill the gaps and keep the story going by tossing it here and there with no mercy. Ah, and there's too much of a certain NavSat...

These 330 pages could have been either 200 (drying the story up) or 500 (by expanding it). But Mr. Coe didn't bother to make the effort.
Hence, 330 pages left me bored while leafing through them and unsatisfied once done with the book and actually asking for more.

Perhaps only a passing mark is too harsh a rating for this book, but if I think to what Coe wrote in the past, this novel doesn't deserve three stars. Potential is a double-edged sword: ask Ian McEwan.

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