Tuesday, May 05, 2009

PopCo by Scarlett Thomas

Alice Butler has been receiving some odd messages - all anonymous, all written in code. Are they from someone at PopCo, the profit-hungry corporation she works for? Or from Alice's long lost father? Or has someone else been on her trail? The solution, she is sure, will involve the code-breaking skills she learned from her grandparents and the key she's been wearing round her neck since she was ten. PopCo is a grown-up adventure of family secrets, puzzles, big business and the power of numbers.

I was really looking forward to this book after The End of Mr Y. And I definitely like Scarlett Thomas's writing style ... but this story just fell hugely short for me. Hugely. It's not gripping and there's all these extra bits and bobs that don't really seem to have much to do with anything ... Now unless I'm completely mistaken and there's some kind of code hidden within the book itself, that would be cool. But I'm too lazy to bother trying to figure that one out. And the big central bit of the story sort of get's shafted at the end and tacked on as an epilogue. Annoying. So, to sum up ... if you like the author give it a go. Otherwise, read The End of Mr Y first.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have just finished this book...well, I have the epilogue to read still. And I agree with you to some degree. It definitely was not nearly as good as "The End of Mr Y", but I found that book just absolutely captivating, so not much could match up to it. PopCo was a disappointment, however, because it read like the experience of an anxious, idealistic person in her early 20s, and was just too full of proselytising. In some sections I felt like it was a treatese on the evils of capitalism, omnivorism and consumerism. Naturally there were fair points made, but they were hammered so hard, and interspersed so strangely among the anecdotes of Alice Butler's youth, that it felt like the story was all over the place.
However, I do like the idea that there is a code in the book. :-) I wonder if the key is PopCo?

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