Remainder by Tom McCarthy
Review by Lauren
My own copy, but all opinions are still our own
Official Summary: A man is severely injured in a mysterious accident, receives an outrageous sum
in legal compensation, and has no idea what to do with it. Then, one night, an
ordinary sight sets off a series of bizarre visions he can’t quite place. How he
goes about bringing his visions to life-and what happens afterward-makes for one
of the most riveting, complex, and unusual novels in recent memory.
Review: This is probably one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read, and yet, I loved it. This is another title for my Contemporary British Studies class (which has proved to be quite fascinating, in terms of what we’ve read), and I’m glad I was made to read it because I don’t think I would have known about it otherwise. McCarthy’s novel is imaginative and unique and all sorts of crazy. It’s seriously hard to explain this book without giving things away…not that you couldn’t describe a lot of it and still not have it really be ruined. It’s one of those books you have to read for yourself.
The narrator of this book is never given a name, you never know what his mysterious accident was, and the book ends in the middle of an event. Now, that doesn’t mean the end is a cliffhanger. You can certainly tell what will ultimately happen to the narrator and those he has pulled into his “schemes” (if you want to call them that…)
On a basic level, this narrator has a deja vu moment where he thinks he remembers an apartment building, aspects of that residence, and even some of the people that inhabit the rooms. With all this money the narrator finds himself with, he decides to recreate this memory/imagining, even hiring actors to re-enact motions and jobs. It sounds insane, and it is, but it’s also very fascinating. There is also a sense of dark humor to it all which has you laughing at moments that you really shouldn’t be. One of those, chuckle while you shake your head type things. Obviously, the narrator’s “madness” gets worse and his re-enactments start to take on a more darker and riskier nature.
See? It’s very hard to explain. If you’ve read it, you understand. If you have not, then I suggest giving it a try. It’s a fairly fast read and would make for some awesome discussion (if you can get someone else to read it with you!) But if you read it soon and wish to talk about it, let me know! I’m more than happy to keep talking about this book after the discussions my class had.