Friday, April 15, 2011

Front-table brethren

Levi on Jonathan Coe's The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim:

[...]Coe unexpectedly transforms The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim from a good, diverting book, into a an amazing one, making a decision so daring, yet so effective, that I still can't quite believe it....Coe's ability to use complicated structure and narrative game-playing not to show off but to flesh out his thematic concerns is one of his his greatest gifts (see The Winshaw Legacy)--but it is also his riskiest habit as an author....In this new novel, the risk Coe takes is even more striking, and, while I expect there will be a lot of disagreement about this, I think it works, brilliantly.

If you've not tried Coe...start with The Rotters Club. But do eventually find your way to Maxwell Sim, if for no other reason than that it's daring, and wholly distinct from its front-table brethren--and surely daring and distinction should be rewarded?

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