From the author of (the major feature-film adaption of which will be released in 2015) and (short-listed for the Booker Prize), and winner of the Windham Campbell Prize, a novel that promises to give us the first and last word on the world-modern, postmodern, whatever world you think you are living in.
When we first meet U., our narrator, he is waiting out a delay in the Turin airport. Clicking through corridors of trivia on his laptop he stumbles on information about the Shroud of Turin-and is struck by the degree to which our access to the truth is always mediated by a set of veils or screens, with any world built on those truths inherently unstable. A "corporate ethnographer," U. is tasked with writing the "Great Report," an ell-encompassing document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions. Madison, the woman he is seeing, is increasingly elusive, much like the particulars in the case of the recent parachutist's death with which U. is obsessed. Add to that his longstanding obsession with South Pacific cargo cults and his developing, inexplicable interest in oil spills. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape. In Tom McCarthy captures-as only he can- the way we experience our world, our efforts to find meaning (or just to stay awake) and discern the narratives we think of as our lives.
The first novel written by Booker finalist Tom McCarthy — acclaimed author of and is set in a Central Europe rapidly fragmenting after the fall of communism. It follows an oddball cast — dissolute bohemians, political refugees, a football referee, a disorientated police agent, and a stranded astronaut — as they chase a stolen painting from Sofia to Prague and onward. Planting the themes that McCarthy’s later works develop, here McCarthy questions the meaning of all kinds of space — physical, political, emotional, and metaphysical — as reflected in the characters’ various disconnections. What emerges is a vision of humanity adrift in history, and a world in a state of disintegration.
"A stunningly strange book about the rarest of fictional subjects: happiness." – Jonathan Lethem
"One of the great English novels of the past ten years." – Zadie Smith
Traumatized by an accident which ‘involved something falling from the sky’ and leaves him eight and a half million pounds richer but hopelessly estranged from the world around him, Remainder’s hero spends his time and money obsessively reconstructing and re-enacting vaguely remembered scenes and situations from his past: a large building with piano music in the distance, the familiar smells and sounds of liver frying and spluttering, lethargic cats lounging on roofs until they tumble off them… But when this fails to quench his thirst for authenticity, he starts re-enacting more and more violent events, as his repetition addiction spirals out of control.
A darkly comic meditation on memory, identity and history, Remainder is a parable for modern times.