Synopses & Reviews
The first novel written by Booker finalist Tom McCarthy—acclaimed author of Remainder
—Men in Space
is set in a Central Europe rapidly fragmenting after the fall of communism. It follows an oddball cast—dissolute bohemians, political refugees, a football referee, a disorientated police agent, and a stranded astronaut—as they chase a stolen painting from Sofia to Prague and onward. Planting the themes that McCarthy’s later works develop, here McCarthy questions the meaning of all kinds of space—physical, political, emotional, and metaphysical—as reflected in the characters’ various disconnections. What emerges is a vision of humanity adrift in history, and a world in a state of disintegration.
With an afterword by Simon Critchley, author of The Book of Dead Philosophers
"Recalling Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde, but with a stolen painting substituting for sex, McCarthy's early novel, set in 1990s Prague, follows a purloined religious icon as it passes through the lives of Anton, a Bulgarian football referee turned black marketer; Ivan, a Czech abstract artist turned forger; and his British roommate, Nick, an aspiring art critic and artists' model. Additional assorted hangers-on of Dutch, American, and ex-Yugoslav stripes constitute a teeming cross-section of Eastern European life in the wake of the Communist governments' collapse. Observing them all is a nameless police inspector covertly tracking the painting's movements. And above them all is the symbolic specter of a Russian cosmonaut stranded in space. And then there is the mystery behind the painting itself: what does its floating, enigmatic central figure represent? In his novel, much of which was written before his debut, Remainder, and published in the U.K. in 2007, McCarthy (C) raises more questions than he answers and creates more plot elements, including several deaths and double-crosses, than he resolves. But the author, who lived through this tumultuous historical period and wrote this book in Prague, makes tangible the heady rush of freedom; his bone-deep understanding gives this transformative period a visceral charge. Agent: Jonathan Pegg, Curtis Brown." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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 other books include C, Remainder, and Tintin and the Secret of Literature.