REVIEW: The Herald-Sun

Matt Dickinson
October 23, 1999

Maxx Barry has written a novel based on the premise that perception is reality.

This is not surprising, considering his background in corporate marketing.

Syrup is a sardonic case study on the industry that rules our lives, a fictitious account of how marketers convince a naive public that popularity is quality.

According to 6, Syrup's sexy, hard-nosed, pseudo-lesbian heroine, marketer's are today's real artists. "A lot more people have seen a Coke can than a Van Gogh," she claims.

Armed with this knowledge, as well as the puppy-dog devotion of Scat, the book's protagonist and narrator, 6 sets about dethroning Sneaky Pete, the man who stole her job as the new products manager at Coca-Cola. Sneaky Pete is Scat's former flatmate. He has also robbed Scat of his chance to crack the big time by stealing his idea to create a new soft drink with a less-than-subtle name.

Maxx Barry has done his homework. He has pitched this book at a generation of gender-obsessed readers who identify strongly with the central characters.

The pace is racy, there is an ebb and flow of conflict and harmony, and the underdog emerges victorious.

But as the chairman of the Coca-Cola board says: "I agree, it's very hard to fault... but there's something missing."

Author's Note: No, I don't know what "gender-obsessed readers" are, either.