Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, 2015
Meet U. - a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their 'corporate anthropologist' to help decode and manipulate the world around them - all the more so now that a giant, epoch-defining project is in the offing.
Instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades.
Is there, U. wonders, a secret logic holding all these images together - a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master meaning of our age? Might it have something to do with South Pacific cargo cults or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.
As U. oscillates between the visionary and the vague, brilliance and bullshit, Satin Island emerges, an impassioned and exquisite novel for our disjointed times.
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I really thought this was it...
Let me start by saying that the writing of Tom McCarthy is addictively enjoyable to read.
So much so that, after devouring his first chapter in a Terminal bookstore, I bought the audiobook for my flight with reckless anticipation.
McCarthy is clearly a brilliant and wonderfully tuned writer, but if the publishers summary promised a book the oscillated between 'brilliance & bullshit', I felt it too often flickered between brilliance & navel-gazing. For me, 'bullshit' (perhaps a hint of real DBC Pierre madness) might have filled the void, so my excitement fizzled to an irritation.
Ok, yes, I'm a little pissed the (parachutist) sub-narrative failed to ignite, (and of this, I was fore-warned) but I make no apology for offering my attention for a little narrative reward.
Don't be misled by one opinion—decide for your self but I came away feeling this book was the published study for a future great novel.
Yes. Addiction is not a casual reference.
I have been cruel enough already—and I'm not worthy of directing this artist.
I genuinely expect great things...