C BY TOM McCarthy

This is my second booker shortlist read this year ,Tom McCarthy is considered the next big thing in british lit and this book as very technically clever .Well I enjoyed it ,at times found it very hard going .The book centres on the life of Serge Carafax a young man born on the cusp of a new century the twentieth century ,he is born ,to a family working at a deaf school,he soon becomes fascinated by the new technologies that are appearing and becomes a expert in radio and electrical equipment this sends him through the main events in the first few decades of the twentieth century ,he loves the planes in the first world war and ends up getting caught and made a prisoner and at a prisoner of war camp getting involved in escape plans and caring for his fellow prisoners ,post war he ends up in the swinging twenties of london and the drug scene ,then becomes a wireless operator for what was the internet of its day as it was a   front row technology of the day and led many a young man like Serge to the far-flung corners of what was the British empire then ,well that is the simple overview of the book .but this book is like a cryptic crossword each page has layers and meanings ,there is a great deal of symbolism about technology and its place in society,war drugs ,travel many things cleverly woven .McCarthy has firmly placed himself in the top echelons of British writers .

The static’s like the sound of thinking .Not any single person thinking ,collectively ,It’s bigger than that, wider – and more dialect .It’s like the sound of thought itself,its a hum and rush .Each night ,when Serge drops in on it ,it recoils with a wail ,then rolls back to the crackling waves that carry him away ,all rudderless ,untill his fingers nudging the dial , can get some traction on it at all ,

opening of chapter 3 shows Serges connection with radios and there workings .

I m not going say I got this book completely I d be lying, it is a book that maybe takes a couple of readings to break its shell completely but as my first reading I loved it ,echos of Pychon and Bolano as it says on the cover maybe even early Ballard in places .If it wins the booker it will be a worthy winner . This is my last of the shortlisted reads ,Did have Finklers question from library but they wanted it back ,so will read at a later date .



14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynne
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 01:04:24

    My copy just arrived this week. It will be ages until I get to it, but I do want to try it.


  2. amymckie
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 03:07:23

    Hmm… this book sounds interesting, but I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to pick it up any time soon 🙂 Great review though Stu.


  3. The Book Whisperer
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 09:40:57

    I have this book at home, Stu, but keep putting off reading it. It looks like it’s really hard going though. I should maybe give it a go though.


  4. Iris
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 09:45:56

    This sounds interesting, but like Amy I doubt I will pick it up anytime soon.


  5. Parrish
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 13:20:25

    Pynchon & Bolano? wow this sounds like a book, I should track down right away. If I am remembering correctly, theres a character in V, that is a wireless operator & spends his time listening to “sferics” (atmospherics).


  6. farmlanebooks
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 09:58:49

    I think we shared our opinion on this one. I enjoyed it, but at times it felt more like studying than reading. I agree that you have to read it multiple times to appreciate it and for that reason I think it has a strong chance of winning the Booker.

    I’m not sure I’d compare it to Bolano – it has a very different atmosphere to it, but perhaps they are similar in the amount of studying you have to do to fully understand them!


    • winstonsdad
      Oct 05, 2010 @ 11:57:58

      Yes style wise Bolano is tough going at times and Mcchatrhy was it needs full attention ,I think it should win booker for being different ,all the best stu


  7. Kinna
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 12:08:31

    I’m dying to read this one. Sounds hard work and intriguing, it can be my kinda book!


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October 2010


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