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Remainder Paperback – February 13, 2007
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Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
If you do not wish to contaminate your experience of the novel, then do not read on. Just read the following paragraph, which is my conclusion:
I highly recommend this book to those interested in exploring existentialism, the philosophy of body and soul, and also post-traumatic stress syndrome. Besides that, I found this to be an entertaining novel that I could not put down, full of a quirky British sense of humor.You may find yourself reading the book a number of times to digest the full meaning.
What is reality? The author may have cleverly "tricked" the reader into thinking that the novel takes place in the "real" material world....
My take on this novel(and this can be interpreted in many ways) is that the whole sequence is a dream, possibly of someone dying on a ventilator in an ICU, having experienced a horrific trauma. It may even have occurred at the instant preceding death...there is much emphasis on slowing down and stretching time.The re-enactments cleverly contain dream-like images and metaphors of the events surrounding the trauma. As he struggles to live (possibly within a coma and a paralysed body)he recreates the moment of "death", stuck in a state that borders on life and death at the moment of the trauma. As he struggles to hang on to life, he reinvents the traumatic moment...he is stuck at that point.Read more ›
The beginning is a bit slow but, overall, the novel is not poorly written. It was an enjoyable read in general - right up to about the last few pages. Given what McCarthy has written and how, the story escalates the only way it can (savvy readers will see it coming) and yet, the end is unsatisfying. I found myself unsympathetic - or maybe unempathetic - to the main character and I had trouble believing & understanding his motivations. It felt like the book ended too early and there are several red herrings / character circular thought patterns that don't really lead anywhere.
I think McCarthy's book is a bit self indulgent. I think I was supposed to feel it was all very clever and cool but I feel like it was several hours that would've been better spent reading something else. That being said, it isn't the worst book I've ever read - it's squarely middle of the pack material.
Tom McCarthy is a kid with a box of crayons and his own set of rules. Remainder, a first novel, could best be described as the story of what could happen at the crossroads of weird and possible. What happens when you give a guy a mysterious brain injury and more money than he'll ever need? Throw in a little bit of disoriented pride and you've got the makings of this strangely compelling novel.
We first meet our hero as he relearns how to walk, eat, and talk, one laborious maneuver at a time, but this is no heroic recovery novel. Soon he is able to appear to be the same as he once was. He has lost his memory, but it is slowly coming back to him, and as a huge lawsuit settlement turns him into a multi-millionaire, he goes on a quest to create, or recreate, a moment that will make him feel something real, something non-maneuvered. So much money not only allows him to go about this quest in whatever way he sees fit, but it also allows him to refuse to explain himself as the money flows.
The unnamed narrator, unnamed perhaps because, as the title suggests, he is less of a real person than the remainder of a real person after the accident. How much humanity remains in this remainder? How far is he willing to go to feel something real? How many rules of society will his money let him break, and how long will that money last? The crescendo of this mad fugue will keep adventurous readers enthralled.
What follows is an escalating examination on the nature of being as the man begins embarking on ever more complicated recreations of reality, some mundane and others decidedly not so. As the man immerses himself ever more in simply being in these moments -- or analyzing them in excruciating detail -- he ironically begins to lose his grip on reality until, in the final portions of the novel, he finally learns a profound truth not only about what it means to exist perfectly, but also about how such a thing is almost certainly not possible.
This is a truly brilliant and disorienting novel, and McCarthy's prose never misses a chance to linger over every detail. Since it is aggressively ontological, it may very well bore some people. Analyzing the nature of being is highly problematic from the get-go because such analysis requires observation, which is impossible apart from being. Our protagonist, recognizing this, tries to understand his recreations in every permutation, from within and without and above, and although he comes very close to achieving transcendence, it is at the expense of actually living.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first 50 pages were tough because I find McCarthy's style to be a bit chatty. But once I got into the neurotic plot/protagonist, then I was involved. Read morePublished 3 months ago by phillip88
"Remainder" is not your average book, and one must submit to the style and story and let it take you. Don't skim. Read every word. Read it out loud. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Stuart Dummit
But I just couldn't! Sadly, I am the type of reader who will continue reading a book even after I realize I don't like it and am not enjoying it at all. Read morePublished 8 months ago by R. Hanks
After a few days of quietly curiously making my way through McCarthy's book--which feels more like a report or an investigation than a novel--I notice my mind doing something that... Read morePublished 8 months ago by area d fm
Well written, but it didn't develop into anything interesting by the end of the book as I thought it would. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jonathan Perryman
This is a difficult book to rate. For the first 150 pages I thought this would be the most brilliant book I've read in a while. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kindle Customer