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Remainder (Vintage Originals)

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Remainder (Vintage Originals) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307278357
ISBN10: 0307278352
Condition: Standard
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Awards

The Rooster 2008 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

Would you trade memories for money? What if you didn't have a choice? If you didn't remember what caused your memory loss, how would you spend the settlement that resulted? In Tom McCarthy's Remainder, the unnamed man chooses to recapture imagined visions in an actual setting. He uses his settlement to recreate these images (a place, people, events) with the aid of hired help.
Recommended by Carson, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A man is severely injured in a mysterious accident, receives an outrageous sum in legal compensation, and has no idea what to do with it.

Then, one night, an ordinary sight sets off a series of bizarre visions he can't quite place.

How he goes about bringing his visions to life — and what happens afterward — makes for one of the most riveting, complex, and unusual novels in recent memory.

Remainder is about the secret world each of us harbors within, and what might happen if we were granted the power to make it real.

From Our Staff:

Would you trade memories for money? What if you didn't have a choice? If you didn't remember what caused your memory loss, how would you spend the settlement that resulted? In Tom McCarthy's Remainder, the unnamed man chooses to recapture imagined visions in an actual setting. He uses his settlement to recreate these images (a place, people, events) with the aid of hired help.
Recommended by our staff at Powells.com

Review:

"McCarthy's debut novel, set in London, takes a clever conceit and pumps it up with vibrant prose to such great effect that the narrative's pointlessness is nearly a non-issue. The unnamed narrator, who suffers memory loss as the result of an accident that 'involved something falling from the sky,' receives an £8.5 million settlement and uses the money to re-enact, with the help of a 'facilitator' he hires, things remembered or imagined. He buys an apartment building to replicate one that has come to him in a vision and then populates it with people hired to re-enact, over and over again, the mundane activities he has seen his imaginary neighbors performing. He stages both ordinary acts (the fixing of a punctured tire) and violent ones (shootings and more), each time repeating the events many times and becoming increasingly detached from reality and fascinated by the scenarios his newfound wealth has allowed him to create even though he professes he doesn't 'want to understand them.' McCarthy's evocation of the narrator's absorption in his fantasy world as it cascades out of control is brilliant all the way through the abrupt climax." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Tom McCarthy's first novel offers a vivid, subtle portrait of creeping madness." Time Out (New York)

Review:

"Londoner McCarthy delivers crisp, precise prose, though his offbeat tale might have been rendered in far fewer words." Booklist

Review:

"A stunningly strange book about the rarest of fictional subjects, happiness." Jonathan Lethem

Review:

"Remainder is a beautifully strange and chilly book. Bloody, cold, and more tasty than you'd probably like to admit. It's a very smart yet completely unpretentious novel, and unlike anything else you're likely to read for quite some time." Scott Smith, author of The Ruins

Review:

"Remainder [is] more than an entertaining brain-teaser: it's a work of novelistic philosophy, as disturbing as it is funny." New York Times

Review:

"Remainder...is a book to be read and then reread, rich as it is with its insights, daring as it is with its contradictions." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"As in the best amnesiac stories...writer Tom McCarthy holds a wry, deadpan tone cleanly throughout. He helps things along by picking out just the right amount to detail." Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

Tom McCarthy was born in 1969 and lives in London. He is known for the reports, manifestos, and media interventions he has made as General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network. Remainder is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

suziehanra, January 22, 2012 (view all comments by suziehanra)
This book is unlike anything I have ever read. If you are tired of picking up contemporary fiction and finding that you've read the same story a million times before, then try Remainder. Ironically, Remainder, a true original, is a book about recreation, reenactment, and copying. A man overcoming amnesia copies into real life a memory of a forgotten place and forgotten people. He hires actors, buys an apartment building, and will go to any cost to recreate the life he believes he may have once had. But soon this is not enough for him. Soon he needs to recreate not just memory but real life, the things he sees or hears about happening around him--taking out the trash, then an accident, then a robbery--and thats not all. This book escalates like no other, as the recreations--and the protagonist's NEED to recreate--become more and more urgent, so does the reader's urge to find out how he will resolve this impossible desire. The ending is a shock and does not disappoint, but you don't have to wait till the end to be thrilled by what's written on every page.

Though this is one of the strangest and, content-wise, most daring books I've ever read, there's nothing so-called "experimental" in its language or structure to put off even the most mainstream reader. You don't need a dictionary to read this book, and you don't need a month to get through it. It's a quick, easy read, while also being one of the most puzzling and complex stories you will have ever encountered. McCarthy's handling of the escalation in the character and the story is pretty amazing, and his first-person narrator follows a perfectly-balanced sense of awareness, contemplation, and emotional reaction. It never gets sentimental, it never feels forced, it never feels gimmicky or too-clever, nor is this almost-unbelievable story ever unbelievable.

HIGHLY recommended, I got my brother to read this book and he has not picked up a work of fiction for 10 years!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
vanityclear, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by vanityclear)
Loved this book. McCarthy took a standard premise for a book (amnesia) and spun out a brilliant tale that reads like a dream. Really, I felt like I hallucinated it, the text so closely mirrored my thoughts. Read it. Read it now. Read it all in one sitting. Just go.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Michael B Padrick, January 26, 2011 (view all comments by Michael B Padrick)
One of the strangest - and one of the best - books I've read in years. Hands down: if you like your fiction thoughtful, this book is certainly for you. Excellent.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307278357
Author:
McCarthy, Tom
Publisher:
Vintage
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Accident victims
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;novel;memory;england;amnesia;debut;literature;london;21st century;2000s;literary fiction;british;surrealism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Originals
Publication Date:
20070213
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.02x5.24x.69 in. .65 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2008
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Remainder (Vintage Originals) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307278357 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Would you trade memories for money? What if you didn't have a choice? If you didn't remember what caused your memory loss, how would you spend the settlement that resulted? In Tom McCarthy's Remainder, the unnamed man chooses to recapture imagined visions in an actual setting. He uses his settlement to recreate these images (a place, people, events) with the aid of hired help.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "McCarthy's debut novel, set in London, takes a clever conceit and pumps it up with vibrant prose to such great effect that the narrative's pointlessness is nearly a non-issue. The unnamed narrator, who suffers memory loss as the result of an accident that 'involved something falling from the sky,' receives an £8.5 million settlement and uses the money to re-enact, with the help of a 'facilitator' he hires, things remembered or imagined. He buys an apartment building to replicate one that has come to him in a vision and then populates it with people hired to re-enact, over and over again, the mundane activities he has seen his imaginary neighbors performing. He stages both ordinary acts (the fixing of a punctured tire) and violent ones (shootings and more), each time repeating the events many times and becoming increasingly detached from reality and fascinated by the scenarios his newfound wealth has allowed him to create even though he professes he doesn't 'want to understand them.' McCarthy's evocation of the narrator's absorption in his fantasy world as it cascades out of control is brilliant all the way through the abrupt climax." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Tom McCarthy's first novel offers a vivid, subtle portrait of creeping madness."
"Review" by , "Londoner McCarthy delivers crisp, precise prose, though his offbeat tale might have been rendered in far fewer words."
"Review" by , "A stunningly strange book about the rarest of fictional subjects, happiness."
"Review" by , "Remainder is a beautifully strange and chilly book. Bloody, cold, and more tasty than you'd probably like to admit. It's a very smart yet completely unpretentious novel, and unlike anything else you're likely to read for quite some time."
"Review" by , "Remainder [is] more than an entertaining brain-teaser: it's a work of novelistic philosophy, as disturbing as it is funny."
"Review" by , "Remainder...is a book to be read and then reread, rich as it is with its insights, daring as it is with its contradictions."
"Review" by , "As in the best amnesiac stories...writer Tom McCarthy holds a wry, deadpan tone cleanly throughout. He helps things along by picking out just the right amount to detail."
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