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Cby Tom McCarthy
This novel reads like intercepted radio transmissions from the first two decades of the 20th century: a looping cacophony of coffins, cabaret, cocaine, and cryptology. Serge Carrefax hunts for meaning in minutiae and for secret messages from his dead sister, his journey carrying him to a multitude of locales: the mansion where he spent his childhood, a German spa, the trenches of the First World War, Soho séances, and Egyptian tombs. McCarthy betrays the truth that life can hold moments of flickering significance, even if they're hidden in a deluge of patternless data and doggy-style sexual encounters.
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant epochal saga from the acclaimed author of Remainder (“One of the great English novels of the past ten years” — Zadie Smith), C takes place in the early years of the twentieth century and ranges from western England to Europe to North Africa.
Serge Carrefax spends his childhood at Versoie House, where his father teaches deaf children to speak when he’s not experimenting with wireless telegraphy. Sophie, Serge’s sister and only connection to the world at large, takes outrageous liberties with Serge’s young body — which may explain the unusual sexual predilections that haunt him for the rest of his life. After recuperating from a mysterious illness at a Bohemian spa, Serge serves in World War I as a radio operator. C culminates in a bizarre scene in an Egyptian catacomb where all Serge's paths and relationships at last converge.
Tom McCarthy's mesmerizing, often hilarious accomplishment effortlessly blends the generational breadth of Ian McEwan with the postmodern wit of Thomas Pynchon and marks a writer rapidly becoming one of the most significant and original voices of his generation.
"A marvelously inventive novel, swept along by the sheer energy of its prose." Booklist
"In creating a work that recycles itself and our culture, McCarthy has produced something truly original." Washington Post
"[McCarthy] fuses a Pynchonesque revelry in signs and codes with the lush psychedelics of William Burroughs to create an intellectually provocative novel that unfurls like a brooding, phosphorescent dream." New York Times
"Remarkable not for its austerity but for its unlikely, panoramic ambition....C is a bird so rare as to seem oxymoronic: an avant-garde epic, the first I can think of since Ulysses." Harper's Magazine
"With C, Tom McCarthy has written an avant-garde masterpiece — a sprawling cryptogram — in the guise of an epic, coming-of-age period piece....C is coming-of-age as philosophy, philosophy as fiction, fiction as 'dummy-chamber' ('the real thing's beyond') — the novel as encrypted code for life." The Los Angeles Times
Serge Carrefax spends his childhood at Versoie House, where his father teaches deaf children to speak when he's not experimenting with wireless telegraphy. Sophie, Serge's sister and only connection to the world at large, takes outrageous liberties with Serge's young body — which may explain the unusual sexual predilections that haunt him for the rest of his life.
C has been shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.
The acclaimed author of Remainder, which Zadie Smith hailed as “one of the great English novels of the past ten years,”gives us his most spectacularly inventive novel yet.
Opening in England at the turn of the twentieth century, C is the story of a boy named Serge Carrefax, whose father spends his time experimenting with wireless communication while running a school for deaf children. Serge grows up amid the noise and silence with his brilliant but troubled older sister, Sophie: an intense sibling relationship that stays with him as he heads off into an equally troubled larger world.
After a fling with a nurse at a Bohemian spa, Serge serves in World War I as a radio operator for reconnaissance planes. When his plane is shot down, Serge is taken to a German prison camp, from which he escapes. Back in London, hes recruited for a mission to Cairo on behalf of the shadowy Empire Wireless Chain. All of which eventually carries Serge to a fitful—and perhaps fateful—climax at the bottom of an Egyptian tomb . . .
Only a writer like Tom McCarthy could pull off a story with this effortless historical breadth, psychological insight, and postmodern originality.
About the Author
Tom McCarthy was born in 1969 and lives in London. He is known in the art world 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. His first novel was Remainder, and, in 2006, he published Tintin and the Secret of Literature.
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