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The Mark and the Void

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,895 ratings  ·  275 reviews
Claude is a Frenchman who lives in Dublin. His birthplace is famed as the city of lovers, but so far love has always eluded him. Instead his life revolves around the investment bank where he works. And then one day he realizes he is being followed around, by a pale, scrawny man. The man's name is Paul Murray.

Paul claims to want to write a novel about Claude and Claude's he
Paperback, 461 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2015)
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Bernard Lafont I believe 1 July is the new release date with a possible earlier release in UK / Ireland

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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  1,895 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned, novels
I just read SIX three star novels in a row and here is NUMBER SEVEN which I am not going to finish because 219 pages of Paul Murray’s extremely mild investment-banker-related humour is enough for me this year. I would like to break the asphyxiating cycle of this middling 3 star morass by rating this one or two but I can’t. It’s not bad, it’s just not what I want. It’s extremely readable but after a while it’s - wait a minute yes – no -yes - the prawn cracker effect again… you eat and eat and you ...more
When the ship goes down, I want to be in Murray’s skiff. At least there will be laughter, love, generosity, poetry, and with any luck, a gulp of whiskey among us. If you thought the financial meltdown and its aftermath was too complicated to understand, read Murray. His account is a little like that fabled whiskey, warming and clear. At the inevitable end, we wonder where our head was, to think we could carry on like that and not have a hangover.
"[The restaurant called] Life is so loud, it takes
Kate Vane
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
This book starts promisingly. An author has apparently identified the ideal character for his next novel. Claude is a Frenchman alienated from himself, an outsider working in investment banking in the non-place that is the International Financial Services Centre, a tax haven unceremoniously dumped in the centre of Dublin, peopled by international workers eating things like ‘panini fromage’ and staring at their phones. Paul, the author, tells Claude he wants to write a twenty-first century Ulysse ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Mark and the Void is a book about duplicity. Small wonder, then, that it sets up dualities every step of the way.

It’s a book about finances…and the arts. It’s a tragedy…and a comedy. It’s about taking risks…and playing it safe. And, in turns, it’s serious and imaginative…and utterly messy and ridiculous.

Here, in essence, is the plot: a solitary French banker named Claude is working in Dublin for the Bank of Torabundo, an investment bank that prudently navigated the market crash and – because
Aug 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Bettie by: Laura

Description: What links the Bank of Torabundo, an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a four-year-old boy named after TV detective Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB man? You guessed it...

The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray's madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original Skippy Dies.

While marooned at his banking job in th
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy, fiction
The good news is that the Murray's satire is funny, in places it is so funny that I was that odd commuter chortling away to himself. The topic Murray picked is ripe for a tragi comedy, bankers working in Dublin post financial crises. One in particular, Claude, on the run from parental disapproval, lives a life of total isolation outside of work and is therefore delighted when a writer approaches him to be the subject of his new novel.

At its best the book does a great job of showing some of the b
Steven Walle
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book did not hold my interest very well. I shall give a full review at a later date.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You wouldn't expect to find much humour in an Irish investment bank during the demise of the Celtic Tiger, but Murray give us plenty! When I started reading I thought, here we go - another book about an author trying to write a book, but it quickly turns into something considerably more interesting. The plot is somewhat improbable and the protagonists have strange ideas about life, yet they somehow combine in a series of comically excruciating events.

I'm looking forward to the Mary Cutlass revie
James Murphy
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I can recall another novel which nudged into my imagination in quite the same way as The Mark and the Void. It's a comic novel with a kernel of serious assertions, perhaps philosophic observation, at its center. Hilarious situations and dialogue swirl around this center as huge storms encircle Jupiter. Bits of Paul Murray's weightier views appear to have been torn from the novel's heavy core and can be encountered careening amidst the zany circulation around it.

Murray's a funny writ
Bernard Lafont
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a hilarious and very important novel about how our financial well-being essentially rests in the hands of gamblers, aka the banking system. Fate depends on where the moral compass is directed at any given moment in time. The story is told through the eyes of French banker, Claude, whose personal circumstances lead him to Dublin's (once) Fair City in the lead up to the financial crisis.

Murray has created a wonderful lead character who is professionally at the pinnacle, but emotionally vul
Oh, I don't know. He's so readable, smart, witty, humane; but so much of this was hard work - so much ickiness. I have to work out better how I feel about it. I think it's that 'comedy of pain' thing, like Fawlty Towers or The Office, that I can objectively appreciate but intuitively recoil from. Although there are some really funny things in here, and super-astute, but I think that's not what I wanted to read Murray for. Difficult Second Novel? Or maybe it's the subject matter, I do already fee ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Way too long
Could have been shorter
Skipped lots of it
Didn't laugh at all
Could guess the ending from the beginning
But the conversation parts were smooth
Greg Zimmerman
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(First appeared at

If there's only one good thing to come out of the Great Recession, it's this hilarious novel. You may remember Paul Murray from Skippy Dies, a terrific, goofy novel about Irish prep school kids. Well, The Mark and the Void is terrific and goofy, too — but with a much more "serious" subject. I's a satire of two professions: Bankers and novelists. And you'll be surprised to find they have more in common than you might think.

"The financia
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:
What links the Bank of Torabundo, an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a four-year-old boy named after TV detective Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB man? You guessed it...

The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray's madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original Skippy Dies.

While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and
Alex Sarll
Harder work than the wonderful Skippy Dies and An Evening Of Long Goodbyes, because the horror of zombie capitalism is too close to home and too crazy already to make easy material for comedy, even black comedy. And you can tell, not least from the metafictional games, that Murray did find it hard work. But in the end he manages it, producing a grand, wide-ranging and intermittently hilarious book comparable to the big American novels of a few years back. Trigger warning: banking.
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Although I never did get around to reading it, for a long time Paul Murray's previous novel Skippy Dies was on my wish list here at CCLaP, simply because people seemingly never stopped talking about it, even years after it had first come out; and now that I've read his newest, The Mark and the Void, I can
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Most 'funny' novels are lost on me. More often than not they produce eye rolls rather than laughs. The Mark and the Void is the exception. The comedic style herein is equal parts British droll, groan worthy dad jokes, and witty, intelligent television sitcom. Though it sounds like it'd be lumped with other 'funny' novels, for some reason this one clicked with me.
That it is also razor sharp satire lampooning the shadowy abstraction that is the global banking system, thus the foundation for globa
Sarah Bannan
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. A super intelligent page-turner, full of humour and ideas and intrigue...Murray is a wonderfully original and daring writer and this was a total delight...I'll read it again soon, just to get all of the jokes and references and ideas that I know I missed the first time...there's so much to admire and love about this novel and, if you liked Skippy Dies, you'll love this.
Zainab Juma
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Face achingly funny. Deftly self-referential. Whip smart.
Briane Pagel
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think sometimes fiction is better at explaining history than nonfiction.

Nonfiction is concerned with facts. Fiction is about meaning, and impact, and making sense of things. Or, to put it another way: nonfiction is science, but fiction is myth. The stories we tell help us explain the world we know (or don't.)

The Mark And The Void is the first fiction I've read about The Great Crash, as I think of it, that began back in 2007. It's hard to write about something dramatic that you've lived throug
The Mark and the Void is a novel about a banker getting a novelist to write a novel about his life and that story becomes the novel The Mark and the Void.

Though the above summary sounds absurd and incomprehensible, be assured that Paul Murray's new novel, The Mark and the Void, is not It is a rare book. One that manages to satire the world of high finance banking while simultaneously make some deep and intriguing claims about the role of art and literature in the daily lives of everyday people
Stephen Goldenberg
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I very rarely fail to finish a novel because, as a writer myself, I feel I owe it to fellow writers to give maximum respect to their efforts. However, I had to give up on this one despite enjoying the first hundred pages. The problem I feel is that Paul Murray is too clever and witty for his own good. This book is a satire on the banking crisis and the collapse of the Celtic tiger economy as well as being a piece of meta-fiction. If it had been 250 pages long, I might have stuck with it but at 4 ...more
Liz Amundson
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Meta book on financial industry ala 2008. Meta because book is 'about' an author supposedly writing a book about a banker at a non-consumer bank. Yet the author is a scammer- and yet (also) the banker befriends the author and tries to help him. Lots of scenes the purpose of which is to reveal the moral bankruptcy of the financial industry. Yet not dark in tone. Didn't agree the the blurb-writers on the back of the book- not funny per se- more head nodding, ahhh-ing type read. Liked Skippy Dies m ...more
3.5 Stars. I wanted to like this book more but it just didn't keep me that engaged and interested. There was definitely some of the great Paul Murray satire/humor which I loved, but not enough of an interesting story or plot line to keep me reading as addictively as I normally would. While I enjoyed this book, I still hoped it would be more similar to An Evening of Long Goodbyes (by far one of my favorites of all time).
Sep 07, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf
Read as far as page 74

I wanted so badly to enjoy this book and it’s not a bad book by any means. I’m just not feeling it right now. Maybe another day.
L. Scott
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Two things go into good writing: having a story worth telling and telling it well. This is told well. It, however, is just another story about an author struggling to write. Oh, sure, there is a banker involved, but don't let the dust jacket fool you. He's only slightly less two-dimensional and stereotypical than the rest of the characters. Thankfully, the writing is lively and ornate, and the wrap up is amusing enough.
Katy Noyes
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This grew and grew on me, and I can't think of a reason not to give it 5 stars. Absolutely bizarre, but at the same time very carefully structured and paced, with the very different feelings threads pulling together to make sense.

Normally I wouldn't touch a book about bankers, finances and the banking crisis with a bargepole. I didn't manage to finish Murray's first book, but something about the synopsis appealed to me, and the book, despite its length, didn't at any point feel like a chore.

Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A book that has similarities to the film Stranger Than Fiction (one of my favorites, the film that made me respect Will Farrell’s ability to underplay a comedic part and the film that made me just love Maggie Gyllenhaal), The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray’s long-awaited follow up to the utterly terrific Skippy Dies.

I say similar to Stranger Than Fiction: both involve some stiff person who works in some financial job who become attracted to some free-wheeling server type, whose lives are bei
Jeff Buddle
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, Paul Murray, aren't you the trickster? In "The Mark and the Void" we have as a character a novelist named Paul who posits the writing of a novel much like the one we're reading. This fictional Paul, moving through the world of Irish high finance, identifies the man he wants to be his own main character, Claude Martingale, a expatriate Frenchman who is thrilled about the possibility of becoming Paul's everyman.

Also thrilled about the possibility of becoming fictionalized are Claude's colle
Maya Panika
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
‘The very scale of AgroBOT’s impending collapse means that it cannot be allowed to happen. Thanks to his expansions, we are so big now that if we go down, an untold number of trading partners and counterparts will be pulled down with us, bringing the entire global banking system grinding to a halt. In a matter of hours, money will stop coming out of ATMs. In two or three days there will be no food left on the supermarket shelves. By the end of the week, petrol will have run out, followed shortly ...more
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Paul Murray is an Irish novelist. He studied English literature at Trinity College, Dublin and has written two novels: An Evening of Long Goodbyes (shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2003, and nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award) and Skippy Dies (longlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize and the 2010 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic fiction).

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