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Jonathon Fairfax Must Be Destroyed Paperback – 21 Sep 2017
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'This is a hugely enjoyable comedy with a cracking cast of characters and some clever, subtle humour alongside sophisticated slapstick.'
Scott Pack, editor
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All those 'faults' are part of what makes this farcical farce such a good read. I couldn't help being reminded of the 'Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy' trilogy (!) - which is credited as an inspiration in the acknowledgements. The humour is spot on being both cynical and satisfying. It starts with a witty observation of the similarities between the London Underground and love at first sight - it's a great opener and the pace of humour keeps up throughout the book. Added to which it is full of nostalgia of the late 1990's (maybe it was written then and so is not strictly nostalgia but read today it is) covering business ‘new’ speak, the rise and bursting of the dot com bubble, cute tech stuff like the musical sound of a dial up modems. It is a great page turner, marvellously entertaining and as close to genuinely laugh out loud as a book in the hands a cynical old git can be.
So why not 5 stars - basically because I am mean and this is fundamentally a book read for easy light entertainment and I tend to save my 5 stars for more weighty stuff. So 5 stars for everything apart from being meaningful, life changing and written on dense white marble.
Christopher Shevlin writes the funniest dialogue you'll ever read so you may need to find a private space with this book unless you don't mind laughing out loud in public places. He is also a master of psychology - he knows what makes his characters tick and his descriptions of how they see themselves and their place in the world are always convincing. There are a great many moments of utter joy - I almost choked at the Ian Paisley joke. It is highly visual stuff and you can just see it as a movie. And without spoiling it, it has a satisfying ending like an exceedingly chunky bar of chocolate. More please.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book (I was hooked in the first sentence) but found the slapstick a little too contrived and long-winded. It must have been a challenge to follow Perpetual, and he has done a good job, but I think that a third instalment would be one too many. By the way, this book contains one of the best sex scenes I have ever read as it rings very true to life (well, more correctly and sadly, my life).
Please keep writing, Christopher, keep bringing pleasure to those of us who know and love your work and I hope that many more will discover your work.
Also an insightful, comedic take on current office/business mores and politics, which will surely strike a chord with anybody who has worked therein while remaining sceptical about the inherent 'emperor's-new-clothes'-ness of such environments (including so-called business schools!)
Well-written, with good grammar, punctuation and syntax - increasingly rare, alas, these days - which makes for an easy, non-abrasive read, I thoroughly recommend this book.
Filled with a deep insight into the way Jonathons mind works, ever baffled with people and his response to them.
It is very easy to get attached to him.
I tried to make the book last, taking time to think through the events. An awful lot goes on. Its fantastically written and thoroughly enjoyable.