This brilliant debut is a scathingly hilarious send-up of celebrity, sexual politics, corporate America, and the fleeting status that comes with getting to the table first before the other guy has you for lunch.
©1999 Maxx Barry; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Seductively hip....Wickedly funny." (USA Today)
"Barry's delightful first novel delivers a charming and hilarious send-up of the wicked world of marketing....This terrific comic novel is certain to provoke as many belly laughs in print as it might one day on screen." (Booklist)
"A deft, satirical indictment of an industry that makes its living pushing satire, Syrup is understandably deep in hip meta references. What distinguishes the novel from, say, a Thomas Frank-style critique is that it never gets mushy, even after Scat lands the girl." (SPIN)
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
This is the third book by Max Barry that I've read (the prior two in print), and as a former participant in the corporate work force as both employee and executive, I have enjoyed his biting satires of that world. Jennifer Government imagines a world in which corporations operate with minimal governmental regulation and go so far as killing people as part of their marketing campaigns. Company imagines a corporation in which employees don't actually know what their company produces, and what happens when one of them tries to find out.
Syrup, Barry's first novel, examines marketing techniques and internal corporate politics set inside the Coco-Cola Company. Like its successors, it starts with a smart but naive young man just trying to do his job and get ahead, a strong and sexy woman who has the power to make his personal and professional dreams come true, a cold-blooded nemesis who lies and cheats his way to the top, and a spectrum of corporate drones, mindless media types, inept executives, and hip outsiders.
All three books had the same effect on me: I loved their initial premise, liked the characters, bought into the parody for the most part, but ultimately felt that the satire, following a vicious course of logic, strayed a little too far into surrealism. They are all good in the end, all good overall, but there is something unsettling about a strict devotion to the internal logic of the premise taking the story to illogical conclusions. In Syrup, the primary result is repetition in the final act, which costs Barry one star in my estimation.
I got this audiobook when I saw Barry's name, based on past experience with him, and never even looked at the narrator. I wasn't more than three minutes in when I felt the need to increase the playback speed to 1.25, and as soon as I did so, I thought -- this must be Scott Brick. Sure enough. I didn't recognize him at first because this is not as plodding as his normal pace of narration, but it still needed that little bit of speed to pick things up.
Say something about yourself!
There are two "Max Barry"s at work. The first we will call "MAX" because he writes really amazing books like Jennifer Government and Lexicon. Then there is the second we will call "max" who writes junk like Syrup and Machine Man. The two books of the second Max are terrible lame stories. You should avoid those. But you must read/listen to the books of the first because Lexicon and Jennifer Government are awesome.
For you Max Barry readers - where does that place the book Company? In my opinion, it is somewhere in between, good, clever, and interesting, but not awesome.
Hold on to your Mr William or whatever. Fast paced roller coster listen. A story about Corparate infighting, romance,success, rejection and love. Excellent writing with well defined enjoyable characters. My best listen this year (over 100 this year)
I'd read the reviews first and think twice about it. This one was way too long and didn't really have a payoff. It was like reading a diary from a Jr. High girl.
He's a great narrator. Did well with the characters. Narration was the best part of the book.
I kept waiting for SOMETHING big to happen. It didn't. Should have stopped in the middle when the first signs of lameness showed up.
Can't believe this thing averages even 3.7 stars. Did we listen to the same book?
Mr. Barry gives us a story about a scary, alien world: the world of marketing. It made me want to hide under the covers ... from all exposure to advertising. Of course, I guess all of the back-biting, manipulation, maneuvering, and betrayal described in "Syrup" goes on in other worlds besides the marketing world (politics comes to mind ...), but Mr. Barry portrays these underhanded dirty-dealings in a terrifying (and hilarious) scenario that makes the listener cringe. The reader, Scott Brick, does a good job, despite his unpleasant, nasal voice. "Syrup" does not provide gripping listening, but adequate entertainment.
Loved The Company but the last two I've purchased have been a great disappointment. I can't tell if this is really his writing style or if The Company with its humor is his writing style and this book along with Jennifer Government just fell short. In any event, I've determined he is not the author for me!
Hard to believe the protagonist could be so dumb - and that business professionals could be so incompetent. I kept on listening hoping it would turn the corner and become entertaining. It never did. And it's not even funny. Was a waste of my audio credits...
This was a silly book, with thinly filled out characters. The main character is clearly the author's fantasy twin - beautiful women falling all over him, deserving millions for coming up with a soda name, saving the day with a "let's put on a show!" mentality. I didn't expect great literature, but it really wasn't even funny.
I imagine this would be very appealing to the author's own demographic, but I would not recommend it to anyone outside of that.
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