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The first novel written by Booker finalist Tom McCarthy—acclaimed author of Remainder and C—Men in Space 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.
With an afterword by Simon Critchley, author of The Book of Dead Philosophers
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.22(w) x 8.12(h) x 0.65(d)|
About the Author
Tom McCarthy was born in 1969 and lives in London. He is known in the art world for the reports, manifestos, and media interventions he has made as General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network. His other books include C, Remainder, and Tintin and the Secret of Literature.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The forgotten middle child in the McCarthy canon, but probably my favorite. Post-Cold War Eastern Europe has been done in other English-language novels, such as Prague or Russian Debutante's Handbook, but this one is the best. Art-forgery has also been done in other novels, notably The Recognitions, but the entertaining network of personalities and plots in this novel make up for the lack of originality in concept. A long description of how its central-ish character forges a 19th-century iconographic painting is one of the most beautiful depictions of a craft that I've ever read, shown in such exquisite detail that I felt as if I could pull off the forgery on my own.
I hope this book is as pretentious as i think it is; otherwise, I'm exposing myself as superficial and lacking appreciation for good literature. My advice is to read the Afterword first if you want to have the foggiest notion of what's going on. I suspect this is a political allegory, but I doubt that many Americans will have enough background to figure it out. -- catwak