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Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
  

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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.

Meet U. - a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. As U. oscillates between the visionary and the vague, brilliance and bullshit, Satin Island emerges, an impassioned and exquisite novel for our disjointed times.

If you like Tom McCarthy you might also like to read books by Thomas Pynchon, Samuel Beckett and Roberto Bolano.


The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. 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.
~ Anthony Lafferty

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Synopsis

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

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.


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Reviews

'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

About the Author

Tom McCarthy

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?
I always wanted to write.

2) What was your earliest career aspiration?
To be Shakespeare. I wrote 'Macbeth, by Tom McCarthy' aged 7.

3) Can you describe your book Men in Space and its inspiration in thirty words?
It's about disintegration – of all types – in the wake of the collapse of communism in Prague.

4) Do you have any plans for your next book (C)?
It's about technology and mourning.

5) What has been the most exciting moment in your career?
Having my first novel, on its initial limited release by a small art press, reviewed at length in the Times Literary Supplement. I hadn't expected that, and knew that nothing would be the same again.

6) What are you reading right now?
Your questions.

7) If you could have dinner with any three people, past or present, who would they be?
They'd be characters, not writers: one of Sade's libertines, Huysmans's Des Esseintes, Melville's Queequeg.

8) Which period in history would you most like to have lived through?
I'd have liked to be a regular at Warhol's Factory. Or the French Revolution.

9) If your house was on fire, which three books would you save from the flames?
My copy of Finnegans Wake; my diary from when I was eight (best thing I've ever written); my copy of The Sound and the Fury.

10) What do you do to relax?
Look out of my twelfth-floor window.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th March 2015

Author

Tom McCarthy

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Publisher

Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing

Format

Hardback
192 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780224090193

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