Nathaniel ΘΣ's Reviews > E Squared

E Squared by Matt Beaumont
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's review
Apr 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: owned, humour, 2011books
Read from March 21 to 23, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I read e, the previous book, quite some years ago and rather enjoyed it so when I happened across this when the local Borders was closing down the other year, I bought it without hesitation. It's not a direct sequel in that it's set in a completely different agency but it does carry on the story of some of the characters from the first book. I don't think it's necessary to have read that one before this; there are mentions of a previous agency but no real details are given and there's only really one instance in which the prior knowledge is needed.

Whereas e was made up solely of e-mails - hence the name - this one also contains texts, instant messenger conversations and blog posts. Oh, and eBay auctions listings. I was a little concerned that it would make it hard to follow but it actually didn't take that long to get the gist of at all. I did wonder if the blog posts from France were really necessary, it was a rather odd tangent that didn't fit with the rest of the book or the rest of the characters and was solely there to show the come-uppance of a character from the previous book. There's a random comment made regarding it, but other than that, it really wasn't relevant at all.

There are an awful lot of characters but it's nice to see some familar names from the previous book, such as David Crutton, Susi Judge-Davies and Liam O'Keefe. The characters are fairly well portrayed which is no mean feat considering they're only expressed through e-mails and instant messenger conversations. However, it is quite easy to get a hold on a person's personality though those forms of communication as anyone who uses them regularly will know. It also means that you're not being told the story directly but have to piece it together from the information contained in all the e-mails, texts etc. It is really well done and it's although confusing at the beginning, you soon get into the swing of it and pick up the thread and the individual characters with their unique voices.

This is definitely a book for anyone who has ever worked in advertising/PR or even just worked in an office. The e-mails about the mugs from the kitchen disappearing, the constant Out of Office Replies from that one colleague who never seems to be in, the bizarre e-mail signatures, all of those had me nodding and laughing in agreement. It also goes a step further than e and shows more of the character's lives outside of the office which makes it a bit more accessible to those who haven't experienced that delight.

It's definitely a quick and easy read, I got through it in 2 days. It's over 500 pages but a lot of that is taken up with the e-mails headers (which I skimmed just to get the name of the person sending it) and also white space between all the e-mails on the page so there's not as much reading in it as you think. If you ever wanted to know what happens if you respond to that spam email from Nigeria, this is the book for you.

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