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Remainder Paperback – 13 Jun 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books; Paperback edition (13 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846880416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846880414
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 518,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom McCarthy was born in 1969 and grew up in London. His creation, in 1999, of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a 'semi-fictitious organisation' that combines literature, art and philosophy, has led to publications, installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world, from Tate Britain and the ICA in London to Moderna Museet in Stockholm and The Drawing Center in New York. Tom regularly writes on literature and art for publications including The New York Times, The London Review of Books and Artforum.

Product Description

Review

A splendidly odd novel... a refreshingly idiosyncratic, enjoyably intelligent read. --The Guardian

Remainder is an intelligent and absurd satire on consumer culture. --The Times

McCarthy's prose is precise and unpretentious. His anti-hero is a sympathetic Everyman, and it is difficult to resist the dominion of his obsession... its minatory brilliance calls for classic status. --The Independent

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Alma's Submission to The Booker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Lovat on 11 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Tom McCarthy's Remainder occupies the same territory as Rupert Thompson's fascinating The Insult and is also reminiscent of the work of Paul Auster. A bizarre premise - in this case, a man left with no memory but an awful lot of money after an accident, who systematically seeks to re-enact actually experienced and/or imagined mundane scenarios - gradually comes to seem artlessly plausible, due to the absence of affect in both the writing and the central character. His abstruse quest for the real in the patently artificial operates as a nice critique of what Jean Baudrillard calls the hyper-real, yet also offers a fascinating parallel with the spiritual meditative practice of "being in the moment" through mindfulness. The book most reminded me of Sebastian Beaumont's Thirteen, the story of a taxi driver who reaches into his own psyche not by obsessively repeating minute actions but by quite literally driving himself into exhaustion. Beaumont's "other world" is less polemical, but more darkly fascinating and plot driven, than McCarthy's. Thirteen is a Remainder with go-faster stripes. The two books have a different feel, and attempt different things, but both come highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dearnesman on 25 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never read a book like this one. You cannot get it out of your head and it really does make you start to look at the world differently.

I read this on regular half-hour train journeys and, each time, when I arrived at the destination I didn't want to tear myself away from it. And when I did and finally stepped out into the Railway Station I viewed everyone in a completely different way and began seeing things previously unnoticed. No-one else around me seemed to be taking anything seriously - until I realised that everyone else was behaving normally and it was just me that had been reprogrammed. Another reviewer mentioned that the book `got under their skin' - it does just that. All of a sudden, every action, little task or movement takes on greater import.

The only disappointment was the ending, where the whole bizarreness just got to be a bit too much. But by that time the book had already altered my mind. It was too late for me.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Sewell on 19 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever had a feeling of de ja vu where you wished you could grab that moment, cling on to it and relish its every detail, but no matter how hard you try, it's gone?

The narrator of Tom McCarthy's brilliant `Remainder' feels false and unnatural after recovering from an accident that has left him having to relearn his motor functions and a compensation package of eight-and-a-half million pounds. One evening he is struck by a clear memory of a time he can't specify, which evokes a feeling calm and fluid reality in him. He decides to utilise his newfound wealth in an attempt to recreate that precise moment, complete with the perfect building (which he has designed to his specifications by a set designer) and the neighbours he was conscious of in this flash of recall (played by actors which the narrator calls `re-enactors'). He repeatedly re-enacts his moments in an attempt to regain the feeling he was aware of in that moment of de ja vu. Our hero becomes obsessed with re-enacting: first incidents in which he featured, then incidents he witnessed (where he takes on roles as a `re-enactor'), finally, he creates an event of his own design and, after many rehearsals, puts it into practice in the `real' world, with violent and disastrous consequences and, in a rather neat way, a resolution for the narrator.

McCarthy's protagonist is insane; but sympathetic, cold; yet human. The novel's climax has an almost anti-climactic calm that left me bewildered and satisfied. It was so easy to fall into the mindset of the hero, that I have found myself grasping at moments of de ja vu with a fresh vigour. It strikes me as a book about our perceptions of self, reality... and perhaps narrative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Rana on 21 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Had an interesting premise and started well but I really felt it failed to deliver by the end.

The main protagonist was neither engaging or likeable. This was by design and an important part of the story, but the trouble was the story wasn't really engaging either (and the writing style was pretty standard). So as the book went on and the original set-pieces failed to deliver anything meaningful, it just began to feel like a bit of a drag.

Not a terrible book by any means but it wasn't good enough for me to recommend it to anyone as a worthwhile read.
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Format: Paperback
Firstly, a word of warning. I loved this novel, and thought it the best new writing I'd encountered in quite some time. You may well hate it, for exactly the same reasons.
The unnamed central character has spent months in a coma after being hit on the head by "falling technology" - he can't (or doesn't want to?) remember what, and is additionally subject to a "gagging order" imposed by the lawyers of the unnamed organisation responsible for his accident. Having painstakingly re-learnt all of the activities of daily living (there's a good section involving a carrot), he is left with an out-of-court settlement for £8,500,000 and a deep sense of inauthenticity and spectatorship in his own life. He is mysteriously devoid of any close family (did they die in the accident, and could that explain his affectless state and moral anaesthesia? - just one of a myriad possible readings), and his remaining two friends in the world - including a nearly-old-flame female friend - soon become estranged to him as his mental state deteriorates and his social withdrawal intensifies.
At this point, he experiences an epiphany of sorts at a party to which his erstwhile best buddy has dragged him along in a misguided attempt to help him out of his doldrums. A crack in the bathroom wall induces powerful deja vu of a tenement building he may, or may not have, lived in at some point in the past. He then proceeds to blow his full eight and a half million (plus crazily escalating additional funds accruing from his investments in the dotcom "bubble") in increasingly bizarre and elaborate reconstructions and obsessive-compulsive re-enactments of this building and other events from his more recent past, aided and abetted by Naz, agent and Personal Assistant to wealthy celebs, and his company of "facilitators".
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