Every now and then you are entitled to the privilege of reading a book which stands way and above the shoulders of all the others. This is one of those books.
In this book we take a journey with Maxwell Sim, a 48year old middle management worker from Watford who is undergoing a form of mid-life crisis. His wife and daughter walked out on him 18months previously and he keeps in touch with them via a cryptic subterfuge aided by the Internet. He dreams of making something of his life but is hampered by his past and events in his life which have weighed heavily on his thinking.
The travelogue is punctuated by a series of essays. These essays take the form of descriptions of events looked at from another angle. They are pivotal to the structure of the book and provide colour, structure and depth. The means of acquisition and introduction of these essays is where this book really wins.
The writing is so tight and so exquisite, I can hardly bring myself to give too much away. His journey centres around a trip to the Shetland islands in a Toyota Prius on behalf of a toothbrush manufacturer. He uses this journey to explore his life so far and even gets to the point of developing a ‘relationship’ with his SatNav. We are given the conclusion to this journey right at the start of the book but the actual end is a real treat and actually led me to give a squeal of delight!