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Matt Beaumont, Author, Matthew Beaumont, Author Plume Books $15 (346p) ISBN 978-0-452-28188-2
Lightbulb jokes, office snafus and scatological humor are ostensibly the stuff of comedy in this debut epistolary novel constituted solely of e-mails. It's the dawn of the new millennium and the London advertising firm of Miller Shanks is about to embark on two weeks of intensive effort with the goal of winning the most impressive jewel in the industry's crown: the $84 billion Coca-Cola account. Meanwhile, a team has been dispatched to Mauritius for a location shoot, where they run afoul of Ivana Trump, and a technological glitch has been rerouting all of the CEO's communications to the Helsinki office, so the Finns have cheerfully blundered their way into the Coke campaign with an ABBA-esque pitch. The one-dimensional characters are predictable typesDthe prima donna creative director, the touchy-feely copywriter, the many sycophants and backstabbersDwith not a real protagonist in sight to hang the reader's sympathies on. The plot is thin, the internecine conflicts will likely intrigue only those with a particular interest in advertising, the constant paranoid jockeying for power is tiresome and the clich d office sexual shenanigans lose their juice when played out in the noncorporeal land of cyberspace. In an age of swiftly advancing technology, this material already seems dated with its Y2K references. In theory, a novel composed solely of digital correspondence should provide voyeuristic, warp-speed fun. In practice, this one is like reading endless pages of other people's junk mail. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
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