I finished Maxwell Sim yesterday while sat on a park bench in Santander, northern Spain. I always enjoy your books, but feel you deserve particular applause on this occasion for ingeniously weaving a wide array of Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin characters into your narrative. I was especially pleased to see Reggie’s alter ego Martin Wellbourne receive a mention, and the allusion to Clive ‘Lofty’ Anstruther in the character of Roger was wonderfully appropriate. I guess featuring Maxwell’s mother in law with a hippopotamus reference would have been a step too far?
Kind regards and keep up the good work. I believe you and Kazuo Ishiguro are Britain’s two finest current writers.
First of all what a great username. ‘Homunculus’ has been one of my favourite words ever since Woody Allen applied it to Wallace Shawm in Manhattan.
And it’s great to know that someone spotted the Reggie Perrin allusions in Maxwell Sim. Two of Maxwell’s fellow-salesmen, David Webster and Tony Harris-Jones, also take their names (in inverted form) from David Nobbs’s novel: you probably noticed that too. (Though neither of them says "Great" or "Super".) I know a lot of Italians read this message board, and I’m only sorry that most of them won’t be familiar with this great book. If your English is good enough, please read it. In the UK the story of Reggie Perrin – a man who undergoes a mid-life crisis and fakes his own suicide in order to start afresh – has become iconic, largely because it was made into a fantastic TV series in the 1970s. But the novel on which the series is based is even better than the television version, I think. It was a source of massive pride to me when David agreed to adapt What a Carve Up! for Radio 4, and he did – as expected – a wonderful job.
Here’s a link to an interview I did with David some time ago: