Max Barry’s debut novel Syrup (published under the name Maxx Barry) was published in 1999. I wanted to read it within 3 minutes of stumbling across Max Barry’s blog a couple of weeks ago. That’s prbably a slight exaggeration. Let’s go with ‘an hour after stumbling across his blog’ instead. It took me that long to tear myself away from browsing, sharing posts on Facebook, and laughing out loud at his various posts. By that time, I was desperate to read all of his novels as soon as possible, and (according to my husband) I had developed a non-sexual crush on Max Barry.
Syrup is the story of Scat, a recent marketing graduate, and his introduction into the fast-paced, back-stabbing world of corporate corruption. I mean, marketing. His easy road to world-domination (or, at least, fame and fortune) is blocked by two other marketing graduates: 6, the smart, sexy, and completely ruthless love of Scat’s life, and Sneaky Pete, a man who is so cool he doesn’t even need to speak to be successful.
I loved the meta-humour of this satire as well. As I mentioned above, Barry published Syrup under the name Maxx Barry. Accrding to his website:
He put an extra X in his name for Syrup because he thought it was a funny joke about marketing and failed to realize everyone would assume he was a pretentious asshole.
Each chapter of the book is also divided into small sections, each with a title and purpose. These reminded me of short ad-spots, and added to the feel of the book. As a bonus, the breaks make it a perfect novel for reading in short bursts on public transport, etc. In saying that, I read the entire novel in a day and a half, and when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the book.
It’s fair to say that I had very high expectations before I started reading Syrup. It’s also fair to say that those expectations were not only met, but exceeded. The characters are amazing, the plot is fantastically cycnical, and I laughed out loud more than once while reading it. I then proceeded to rave about it to anyone who would listen, which immediately inspired me to read it a second time.