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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, by Jonathan Coe, read by John Heffernan.

Maxwell Sim seems to have hit rock bottom: separated from his wife and daughter, estranged from his father, and with no one to confide in even though he has 74 friends on Facebook. 

He's not even sure whether he's got a job until suddenly a strange business proposition comes his way which involves a long journey to the Shetland Isles - and a voyage into his family's past which throws up some surprising revelations.  

In a story for our times, Maxwell finds himself at sea in the modern world, surrounded by social networks but unable to relate properly to anyone.

©2019 Jonathan Coe (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-25-21

Clever author reveals his cleverness.

Jonathan Coe is always worth reading. In many ways this novel is no exception. The narrative is, at times, engaging and explores important issues: identity; loneliness; change; reconciliation etc. So, good stuff!

However, one of the joys ( bit twee) of finishing a long engaging narrative is that the story and characters live with the reader for a while and can be revisited. The self indulgent trick, or clever device, played on the reader at the end of this novel, for this reader, takes away that pleasure and left me feeling disappointed, as if I had somehow been wasting my time. I’m sure it was unintended / unwitting but might appear that the author was a little ‘sneery’ at his foolish readers.

It’s like a gift suddenly snatched away …

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  • Judith taylor
  • 05-10-21

Just a tad too long

The premise and structure of this story were both terrific with complex twists and turns, while consistently returning the listener to a central point. I felt that there were several points towards the end where the book could have ended and maybe should have done; at some points it felt like the author really couldn't decide on an end and so for some the conclusion may feel unsatisfactory. Still worth the listen to the expertly performed narration though.

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  • Betsy Stokes Stokes
  • 02-18-21

Stick with it !

This story can only be enjoyed in full if you listen to the whole, to the end. It is like seeing someone knit a beautiful jumper. You can't appreciate it when you only have a few stitches or an arm. The book builds in richness and complexity as it proceeds. I love the originality of the writing, the unusualness of it. Most novels have elements and reflections of others. This stands alone. The ending is fabulously unique and like the icing on the cake.
Great stuff Johnathan Coe.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-26-20

Enthralling as ever.

Very much enjoyed this, absorbing, recognisable and relevant, plus an excellent performance, thank you very much.

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  • Martin Arber
  • 02-01-20

Entrancing.

Wonderful,enigmatic, funny and deeply moving story - beautifully sensitively read.Empathic description of chronic depression and alienation.