Set in early 2000, Matt Beaumont’s e: A Novel takes us to the inboxes of Miller Shanks London, a fictional advertising agency that is facing the most important pitch at the turning of a new millenia: the Coca Cola pitch. Told entirely through emails, the book serves our natural instinct as curious cats. Meet Head of Creative Department Simon Horne whose creative juice has been expired for far too long, his Personal Assistant Susi Judge-Davis who is always ready to worship him, cold-blooded CEO David Crutton whose emails always get misdirected to Helsinki, self-worshipping Head of Client Services Daniel Westbrooke, and more to make you go ROTFLMAO as the page turns. Backstabbing, stealing ideas, ladyboy shagging, tits explosion, and other routines in a typical ad agency – all checked.
I’ve lost my first copy of e: A Novel, and as I went to Kinokuniya in Takashimaya, Singapore to buy another copy last year I was surprised to find its sequel – e2, or e Squared.
Just like the movie Before Sunset to Before Sunrise, e Squared is set nine years later with David Crutton leading the story as ‘The Man’ in Meerkat360 – “an advertising agency so cutting-edge it employs a hairdresser.” Susi Judge-Davis is now Susi Judge-Davis-Gaultier and believes that she is a fashion goddess. My favorite character is Harvey Harvey who is “so polite he replies to spam”. Forget Coke, now Meerkat360 is assigned to sell cigarettes for toddlers, and celebrity perfumes under the names of Margaret Thatcher, Osama Bin Laden, and Kim Jong-Il among many. With more weird characters and extreme situations told not only through emails but also blogs, MSN chats, and other text messaging platforms, e Squared might be less believable, but definitely more hilarious. Check out www.meerkat360.co.uk!
If you’re into dry and sarcastic British humor, these two books are your double bill. And if you happen to work in an advertising agency or related area, these are your bibles. (WARNING: Giving these as a gift for your Creative Director might be considered as an insult. Please do.)
e: A Novel
Beaumont, Matt. ISBN 978-0-452-28188-2
First published by Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, 2000
Beaumont, Matt. ISBN 978-0-552-77565-6
First published by Bantam Press
First Printing, 2009