Tom McCarthy
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Buy *Remainder* by Tom McCarthy online

Tom McCarthy
320 pages
February 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Itís quite possible that Tom McCarthyís beautiful, eerie and disturbing novel Remainder is one of the strangest books youíll ever read. It is, at its core, about the dangers of becoming completely detached from human feeling, and itís ten times scarier than most thrillers.

Remainder is narrated by an unnamed man, the victim of a serious accident that he doesnít quite remember or understand. By way of compensation, heís awarded more than eight million pounds (itís a British book). Yet he has no idea what to do with it until he begins seeing a series of visions of a specific apartment. The man doesnít remember his relationship to this building Ė whether he lived there, or stayed there or visited. But he remembers certain vivid details, such as a woman downstairs who constantly fried liver and a courtyard outside, where one of the tenants was ever at work on a motorbike.

Convinced that itís the only place where he can truly be happy, he uses his money to recreate the building and to hire people to play the tenants, repeatedly reenacting scenarios heís laid out for them. This sets off an increasingly extreme chain of events through which the man descends into madness by way of disconnection, seeing his life as a series of reenactments rather than experiences.

Itís to McCarthyís credit that, as the man becomes more detached, the book becomes harder to put down. We know this canít end well, but we are, like the man at the novelís core, determined to follow this through to the end. Thatís because Remainder is unlike anything youíll ever read. Itís infuriating and sickening at times, yet thereís something so true at its core. With todayís technology, we can pretty much do, see or create whatever we want. Remainder is about a man who does just that, at the cost of everything real in his life. Itís a true modern horror story.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Amanda Cuda, 2007

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