, January 22, 2012
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!