REVIEW: The Australian

Murray Waldren
September 11, 1999

Maxx Barry's Americanised culture-vulturism and his experience in high-end sales and marketing serve him well in granting authenticity to Syrup. But the Melbourne writer's snappy prose, hale humour and left-field approach are products of a more home-grown culture. Disrespect and a healthy cynicism underlie this satiric novel: Barry's snide-swipes at the American dream and advertising are pointed enough, but with an accumulative subtlety beyond the boom-boom punchlines. Which probably explains why American critics acclaimed this book on its release in the US.

It's not Rushdiean high literature but this droll, larrikin-at-large-in-LaLa land tale is fun, with its today-friendly structure of whimsical subheadings on bite-sized sections adding an edge to the mockery. It should be required reading for the industry (learn to laugh at yourself, guys - after all, the rest of us do). For non-marketers, an appealing bedside amusement.