Scribe, $29.95 pb, 352 pp
Australian author Max Barry specialises in satirising the profit-obsessed world of corporate enterprise in his sharply observed, easily digestible novels, of which Company is his third. Syrup, his first book, published in 1999, told the story of Scat, a character whose name more than broadly hinted at the author’s jaundiced view of the career he had previously been engaged in (Barry was a salesman for Hewlett-Packard while he was writing the novel). A venomous satire about corporate rivalry and marketing squarely aimed at Coca-Cola, Syrup was also an easily marketable product. Thanks to the American branch of Penguin Books’ interest in the manuscript, Syrup established Barry as that classic Australian success story, the artist who was better known overseas than in his own country.