Finished Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, but i keep picking up every other book in the room to read instead. It makes me distinctly uncomfortable, as it reminds me of the best forgotten period when i was bombed out of my skull on antidepressants, caught in up saturating myself in the most ordinary experiences, trying to re-experience some unattainable bliss of normalcy. If i had an essentially unlimited budget to indulge in such obsession in recreation of the mundane, sifting through it for a transcendental experience, it would have been much like the plot of this book. Ugh. Discomforting.
The ending of the book was disappointing. i was expecting a numbing post-modern dissipation, but it turned into a whiz-flash-bang. It made sense, even inevitable, but i just recently read/re-read Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. (I’m still not entirely unconvinced that i read it before, although for years, i was convinced that i had.) McCarthy’s psychedelic mundanity had me thinking of Auster (I’ve read comparisons to Ballard, but nope… have not read Ballard…) until the last third/quarter of the book, when it became obvious where what served as the plot was creeping.
(Ultimately, though, disappointment with was a relief, as it was less scarring for me psychically.)
I should clarify… when i write of disappointment, it’s not a criticism of McCarthy’s writing. The disappointment comes from my over-identification with certain sensations the protagonist experiences, of trying to reinsert himself into reality, of becoming authentic again, and seeing that McCarthy goes somewhere different with it than i would have hoped. As more people read the book, i will be able to explain myself better without revealing what happens.
It’s easy to recommend the book, but at the moment, i’m more interested in McCarthy’s International Necronautical Society. Surplus Matter also points to an article in Dusted that gives insight to McCarthy’s taste in music, which too often laves a bad feeling, but with his taste for post-punk and postmodern spoken word, he’s not going to rhapsodize about some syrupy, strumming, guitar pop band.