Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Remainder by Tom McCarthy

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.


Liviania said...

Sounds interesting. But I'd be willing to pick it up for that gorgeous cover.

....Petty Witter said...

Intrigued by the sound of this but as parts of the storyline are too close too home for comfort I suspect it isn't a book I'll be reading any time soon.

Brandi Kosiner said...

Dejavu is such a neat concept and it sounds like it was executed well here.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh you had me at strange. :) This looks like a great book to read and even better for a book club. That way you can all discuss it without spoiling it for the other. Oh will have to check this one out.

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I am always a fan of these quirky little books with convoluted plots and dark humor. I have never heard of this one but it sounds very interesting. I will add it to my growing list! Have a great weekend, Lauren.

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm adding this to my wish list. I enjoy strange, unique tales.