Josie's Reviews > Remainder

Remainder by Tom McCarthy
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's review
Oct 17, 2008

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Read in October, 2008

The novel begins with the protagonist receiving millions in a legal settlement as he recovers from a traumatic accident. He is psychologically removed and distant. He experiences the world as an onlooker. The writing is good; it conveys his flat affect.

He buys a building he remembers from his past and hires people to pretend to be the neighbors from his old apartment building. He later re-enacts other scenes and becomes obsessed with these re-enactments, which are accomplished by a personal service firm that hires actors and handles all other logistics. I won't give away the end but it's disturbing.

The book dragged on a bit, with the protagonist mainly recounting the logistics of all the re-enactments. But his attempts to stay connected to the world through these re-enactments, doomed as it was, was somehow captivating. I found the writing really mesmerizing and reminded me of the times I've felt detached from life.

Reading reviews, it was over probably over my head: there were literary references I had not even heard of, let alone read. Someone better read might appreciate the existentialist and other allusions that I didn't even recognize.


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