Aldrin's Reviews > Satin Island
Sep 19, 2015
Recommended to Aldrin by: Man Booker Prize shortlist (2015); Peter Mendelsund
Recommended for: Fans of Don DeLillo
Ostensibly “Satin Island” by Tom McCarthy is a novel about a so-called corporate anthropologist’s attempt to write the so-called Great Report, an ethnographic document summing up our age. But it’s less a novel than any of the struck-through descriptions on its cover: an essay, a confession, a manifesto, a treatise, a report. It may very well be the Great Report itself, even as it’s written not unlike a series of banal fragments by an op-ed contributor at the Guardian or incomprehensible blog entries by a staff writer of The New Yorker. Admittedly I’m finding it hard to recommend this book, despite its being one of the best things I’ve read in years—which I’d argue is but a reasonable response to the brainchild of the general secretary of a “semi-fictitious avant-garde network” called the International Necronautical Society. McCarthy, whose literary precursors apparently include the likes of Kafka, Borges, Calvino, Kiš, and DeLillo, may be no more than an unclothed emperor of postmodern literature. But what I see is a great reporter of our modern “connected” life, one who ventures the realization that—to skew a Shakespearean soliloquy starter—now is the sphincter of our disconnect.
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