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His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their 'corporate anthropologist' to help decode and manipulate the world around them - all the more so now that a giant, epoch-defining project is in the offing. Instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer-zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades. Is there, U. wonders, a secret logic holding all these images together - a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master-meaning of our age? Might it have something to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults, or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.
Tom McCarthy is one of the most original and exciting British novelists writing today and his last novel, C, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The protagonist here is the obliquely named U. He is an anthropologist who has somehow finished up working for a powerful multinational company that advises governments and global businesses, but what they actually do is left deliberately vague. They deal in doublespeak, advising companies on how to ‘contextualise and nuance their services’ and ‘advise regions how to frame regenerative strategies’. U is at the heart of all of this, working on something called ‘The Project’, but he spends his days procrastinating and becomes obsessed with the images that bombard us all in the 21st century from oil-spills through traffic jams to crowds on the move. Packed with intriguing and intellectual ideas, this engaging book may lack a traditional narrative, but it is refreshingly thought-provoking.
'Smart, shimmering and thought-provoking...McCarthy isn't a frustrated cultural theorist who must content himself with writing novels; he's a born novelist, a pretty fantastic one, who has figured out a way to make cultural theory funny, scary and suspenseful - in other words, compulsively readable.' New York Times
'Should you read the new Tom McCarthy book? (A: Yes. Always yes.)' Huffington Post
Dazzling and elusive... a magisterial ethnographic portrait of our overstimulated, interconnected, simulacra-addicted times.' Atlantic
'The kind of strange and ambitious fiction that you feared might have died with J. G. Ballard. ...Provokes and beguiles and, at the point of revelation, it withholds. On finishing it you will have the powerful urge to throw it across the room, then the powerful urge to pick it up to read again. And that's what's so brilliant.' -- Duncan White, 5 stars Daily Telegraph
'Confusing, clever and about to be massive.' Stylist
Publication date: 12/03/2015
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage
|Publication date:||12th March 2015|
|Publisher:||Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Tom McCarthy was born in 1969 and grew up in London. His creation, in 1999, of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a 'semi-fictitious organisation' that combines literature, art and philosophy, has led to publications, installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world, from Tate Britain and the ICA in London to Moderna Museet in Stockholm and The Drawing Center in New York. Tom regularly writes on literature and art for publications including The New York Times, The London Review of Books and Artforum. Below is a Q&A with this author. 1) What led you into writing? ...More About Tom McCarthy