Remainder by Tom McCarthy

The hero of Remainder has recovered from an accident he doesn’t fully remember and from which he’s received a settlement making him a millionaire. He wavers in how to spend his money until a vision of sorts comes to him and he begins reproducing that vision into reality.  But his “re-enactments” become more than just reproducing, they become an addiction from which he doesn’t look to stop.  

The initial trauma of his accident leaves him disconnected from the world and he seeks to reconnect himself with what is real. The antagonist teeters on madness and enlightenment among his post traumatic manifestation. The plot is bizarre and fascinating.  McCarthy’s avid voice works diligently and with precision.  He focuses on themes of connection and the sacred trivial. How minute details are the essence of the big picture. And on the beauty of unpredictable reality.

Remainder might be the strangest novel you read.  Published by a small press (Metronome) and released in Paris in 2005 (and in England the next year) it was finally published in the States by Vintage in 2007. Here’s the Times review of the novel and a Rock Steady interview with McCarthy.

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2 thoughts on “Remainder by Tom McCarthy

  1. REMAINDER sounds like a fascinating novel and the fact that Vintage picked it up is a real coup for the author. I’m wildly jealous.

    I also note that after years of silence, Abraham Rodriguez has a new book out. Have you read SPIDERTOWN and THE BUDDHA BOOK? Man, that Rodriguez guy can write.

    My God, I received an electronic football game for Christmas when I was 12 and recuperating from a mild bout of hepatitis. Could never get the goddamn thing to work, the players just did slow, lazy loops in the middle of the field.

    But I loved it anyway…

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