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Ellis Sharp on Tom McCarthy:


Alex Good is enthusiastic about Tom McCarthy’s Remainder – but to my mind, oddly so. To me, the book isn’t at all self-consciously literary. Its virtues include its plain, stripped-down qualities rather than any nudging of the reader in the direction of influences. I’ve read The Collector several times, and not once was I reminded of it when I read Remainder. And while Ballard may be a more plausible influence, he’s not an overt one and I didn’t once think – hmm, this reminds me of Crash – when I read the book. Lots of novels remind me of other novels. Not so Remainder, which struck me as utterly and brilliantly original. Whatever the influences may have been, they have been absorbed, filtered and made invisible.

Readers Comments

  1. Nutritional Zero Wednesday 27 June 2007

    Lots of novels remind me of other novels. Not so Remainder, which is a paraphrase of Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulations. (The influence of the Lacan is also pretty bloody heavy.) Great book though, I'd recommend it to any undergraduate who is having trouble in their literary theory course.

  2. I mentioned both The Collector and Crash when I reviewed it on my blog, (so has Alex Good read my review or come to the similar opinion?) but I expanded - it was the unreliable narrator that reminded me of the Collector, and the re-staged events (like the re-staged car crashes) in Ballard that reminded me of Crash. I guess these are remembrances of substance, rather than of style, but I'm surprised that Sharp didn't at least catch them in the air of Remainder. I wasn't struck by Remainder's originality so much as its timeliness, it seemed almost entirely of "now", despite some of the cultural references being just a little putting it in the past; and that contemporary ennui does seem particularly new.

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