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Matt Beaumont e: A Novel [Paperback]

Matt Beaumont
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jan 2007

An unforgettable first novel, an author to shout about, a campaign to ensure that everyone knows this is the funniest, sharpest read of the year.

Consisting entirely of staff emails, e spends a fortnight in the company of Miller Shanks, an advertising agency that scales dizzying peaks of incompetence. Among the cast are a CEO with an MBA from the Joseph Stalin School of Management, a Creative Director who is a genius, if only in his own head, designers and copywriters driven by breasts, beer or Bach Flower Remedies, and secretaries who drip honey and spit blood.

The novel is a tapestry of insincerity, backstabbing and bare-arsed bitchiness: that is to say, everyday office politics. Oh yes, and there is some work to be done too – the quest for advertising’s Eldorado, the Coca-Cola account.

e is sleazy, scurrilous and scabrously funny. It also contains a first-class joke about the Pope and sound advice on the maintenance of industrial carpet tiles.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Paperback Edition edition (2 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000710068X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007100682
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The idea of the first e-mail novel could have been a disaster but instead is a minor comic triumph thanks to Matt Beaumont's E. The novel of letters goes back to Richardson, of course, but things have moved on from Regency rape to the lethal office politics of an advertising agency. The beleaguered protagonists may appear to be concerned with pitching for the Coca-Cola account but their real problem is watching their backs: the knives are out and everyone from head honcho David Crutton downwards is well aware that their careers are on the line. Another part of Beaumont's lineage in this unputdownable novel is the This Life school of detailed interpersonal observation: no one character is allowed to assume centre stage; people screw, argue and discuss professional responsibility while the reader slowly makes his mind up about them from the information conveyed in the increasingly frantic e-mails.

Matt Beaumont, though, is primarily a sharp and witty observer of the social scene, with caustic humour that leaps out of his characters' electronic missives. And we're pitched headlong into the situation: it's impossible not to find ourselves riveted by Rachel, James, Harriet, Daniel and all the rest of Beaumont's at-the-edge characters as they strive to achieve a common goal and sink deeper and deeper in the waste matter. But did anybody ever send an e-mail like this one from Lorraine, a woman out to get her own way?:

Two days in London and I'm in advertising. I went to a temp agency last week and they got me into this place called Miller Shanks. They did those shite ads for Kimbelle--you know, the Artist Formerly Known as Ginger Spice bungee jumping, looking like someone shoved a high voltage cable up her arse. I'm working for the CEO (posh for managing director). One of the lads thinks he's on for a shag but he looks too much like Bart Simpson (overbite, spiky hair and slightly jaundiced). Mind you, after a few Stellas he starts looking like Brad Pitt, so who knows?
--Barry Forshaw


Praise for e
‘A brilliantly plotted comic novel about life in an advertising agency, narrated entirely through office emails. It gives me more sense that literature is alive and kicking than anything else I’ve read in these millennial 12 months.’ Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times Review of the Year

‘Lively, viciously funny and about as switched on as a novel can be’ Mirror

‘Hilarious’ Cosmopolitan

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This will make you laugh out loud 9 Oct 2004
By A. S. Garton VINE VOICE
This is by far the funniest book I have ever read. The basic premise is simple: an advertising company based in London are going all-out to win the Coke Cola contract..... only the novel is written entirely in the e-mails that fly around between staff and others.
The best bit? If you work in an office and use email reguarly, you'll recognise most of the characters. My office employs at least five of the main characters - the names are different, but style (or lack thereof!) remains. You know, the chap who just can't resist dropping in his title; the PA who 'only works for such-and-such' and couldn't possibly do anything for you; the geek who has anything for sale.
This is sharp stuff and a very cutting commentary of life in your average office, circa Y2K. I have never, ever laughed aloud when reading a book before - I did with this one. I can't recommend it highly enough.
And now there's a sequel.... buying it now!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One for lovers of 'The Office' 29 May 2006
I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it, which means I've been really antisocial for the last 24 hours.

What a brilliant book!

The whole novel is written in the form of emails, which could have been a total disaster if the characters hadn't been so recognisable.

Don't we all know people who talk about 'putting our ducks in a row' or 'thinking outside the box.'

Perhaps my favourite though is Simon Horne and his terrible Franglais....'Up the creek called Merde. Sans paddle.'

Fantastic and highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A hilarious collection of emails that cleverly recount the tale of an ad agency fighting to win the Coke account. Whether you've worked in an agency or not, you'll recognise the types: bitchy secretaries, bulls****ing bosses, back-stabbing colleagues. I bought this book yesterday lunchtime and started to read it in a bar. Not only did I clear the surrounding tables with my howls of laughter as I read alone, but when I got home couldn't put it down until it was finished. Mr Beaumont, if this is your first novel PLEASE hurry and write another one. I'll be recommending it to all my friends and advertising account managers!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does he know the same people I know? 11 April 2006
By A Customer
I've just finished this book & enjoyed it enormously.
This book should be found true to life and amusing by almost anyone who works in a professional enviroment, maybe it will be appreciated on more levels by those in the advertising industry, but everyone will be able to picture in their workplace at least one of the following, the office twat, loser, flirt, bully, bitch, brownnoser or hippy, if not one then all of them as I did.
Some of the E-mail exchanges are simply hilarious and made me laugh out loud in public on more than one occassion.
If you fancy a simple, engrossing read you should buy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars electronic maelstrom 19 Feb 2003
This is a story of a period of time in an advertising firm in London, through documenting the e-mails sent around the office during that time.
To start with this is a little difficult to get the hang of; as it isn't readily apparent until you get the swing of it who is saying what to whom. Then once you establish the hierarchy of the firm it settles into a nice rhythm and is pretty funny. I feel that you have to slightly suspend reality for some passages; as the viability of someone putting their most personal thoughts down on an e-mail when they actually only have to walk 20 feet to where they work to tell them, is slightly unusual. But then we would not be able to keep up with the plot if they were to do that, and also, I would probably believe anything of people who work in advertising.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a light read, or an insight into the latest method of time wasting in the workplace. My only criticism is that it gets a little repetitive by the end, and you find yourself longing for a "normal" passage of writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book in a long long time 12 Sep 2000
By A Customer
E. is simply superb. A rivetting and hilarious look at ad agency Miller-Shanks bid for the Coca-Cola account, the holy Grail of advertising. It'#s told through a series of emails as colleagues anf friends stab each other in the back and attempt to pass the buck when every single disaster both forseeable and unforseeable plagues the company's chances of winning the bid. Secretaries fight in the office, the PA keeps resigning and threatening to kill herself, the Creative Director is low life, two faced slime ball who would sell his mother to save his backside and two of the creatives are pissed up lads who spend their time downing Bud and snorting coke. From a hilarious on-going wrangle over email that gets sent to Helsinki, to the misfortune of a Marititius photo shoot for a porn channel ad as the large bossomed beauties starring in the ad fall prey to exploding cilicone and jet ski accidents, this is just laugh out loud hilarious and you will find it hard to put it down. You will forget to eat, sleep, talk and when you have finished you will be really sad to leave Miller Shanks. It is a lot more fun than any other place you have worked yourself. Please buy this brilliant book and lets have more please Matt. Miller Shanks offices surely have a few more stories to tell!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars E Gets A Plus (again) 28 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm on my second reading and second copy of E now. I lent my first copy to someone who laughed so much they forgot to return it. I laughed a lot both times. It's very hard not to. This is a VERY funny book and a delight to read it again. The characters are all simultaneously hideous and highly addictive. The book is made up solely of e-mails within, and out of, wannabe advertising stars Miller Shanks as they haplessly lurch towards a pitch to Coca Cola. They're still clinging to the old Eighties ideals of excess and ego, and the pattern of the e-mails is that you shamelessly crawl to those above you in the office hierarchy, and mercilessly bully everyone below you to stake-out your territory. Unrelenting self-promotion is the other prerequisite, as you'd expect from a bunch of Admen. The truth is that everyone is riven with hyper insecurity and insincerity and it's hilarious to witness them all imploding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest books I have ever read
Not much to add to the headline, really. This book will make you feel slightly soiled. Also, it's violently funny. I couldn't recommend it more highly.
Published 18 days ago by A. Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the funniest book I have read
I just love this book, it is laugh out loud and full of larger than life characters.
If you have ever worked in an office, and have a sense of humour this is for you.
Published 25 days ago by Nicola
5.0 out of 5 stars Best, most fun read I had in ages
I can't remember another book I read through in a single go before this. It was absolutely hilariously funny, with all the characters spot on if you ever worked in any kind of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen it all before.
It's great, it really is.. and especially great if you work, have worked or even just walked past an advertising agency. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tony Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely brilliant!
3 whole charges on my ipad. A truly fantastic and hilarious read!! I doubt a funnier book can be written, now on to e2
Published 5 months ago by rob
5.0 out of 5 stars makes you laugh out loud
Bought this again for my kindle after I gave my paperback to a friend. Great to read when your own office bickering seems an innuendo or if you simply have a bad day. Read more
Published 5 months ago by SJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Humour
A great book with loads of humour that you will paint your own picture of what the people look like in this.
Published 8 months ago by Simon Reid
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun
While this novel, consisting entirely of emails, is set in an advertising agency, the array of characters will probably be familiar to anyone who's worked in an office - and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by daveinbrum
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
If you want to know what it's like 'in advertising' read this book. Spot on with agency shenanigans. Very very VERY funny. I've just ordered E2. Can't wait.
Published 20 months ago by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad Men UK - e is the funniest book ever!
Plenty of people have grappled with writing about the advertising business whether in books or for tv but very few have managed to grasp the true madness of the industry. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sue Kichenside
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