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C Paperback – September 6, 2011
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Intrusion: A Novel
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Top Customer Reviews
"C" is not particularly concerned with conventional narrative or characterizations. In fact, Serge Carrefax--the central character--is a blank slate cypher who observes the world more than he understands it. One of the things I most enjoyed about "C" is that McCarthy oftentimes gives us clues about important aspects of Serge's life that he is completely oblivious of--and thus, these things never get discussed or developed in any tangible way. It's an ingenious device that both amused me but kept the novel aloof. "C" follows Serge from birth, through his relationship with his troubled sister, to a recuperative health spa, to his experiences in the war, to his homecoming as an adult, to his sojourn to Egypt. Each section is relatively stand-alone, developing on its own topics and ideas. Once Serge leaves home to start discovering the world, I started getting into the rhythm and cadence of McCarthy's prose and I was fully hooked until the final sequence in Egypt.Read more ›
You will probably be wondering what does "C" stand for? Well, so am I and I've finished the book! There are a lot of contenders - perhaps it stands simply for Carrefax, but it could also stand for Communication, as this features throughout the book. C also features at one point as a symbol for a place where it's possible to buy Cocaine. Symbols are another recurring theme. McCarthy likes his recurring themes and images. Or perhaps C stands for something else entirely....
Serge (English father and deaf French mother) is born into a house in rural England that serves both as a silk production factory and a school for the deaf. His father is obsessed with experimental wireless communication. If you start there, it's not too surprising that your life is going to be a little strange - and his early life is filled with cryptic signals of various kinds. But it's all very grounded in reality.
Later, following a personal tragedy, Serge finds himself in an East European spa before the next time we meet him serving in the Air Force as a radio operator in World War One.Read more ›
It's certainly well written. There are moments of sheer brilliance and perfection.
There's a part during the war where Serge's leader is telling him that a mission is being undertaken, by "tunnelers" to lay explosives underneath enemy trenches. They are concerned that the Germans are perhaps performing the same task even further down.
"Serge becomes fascinated with these tunnelers, these moles. He pictures their noses twitching as they alternatively dig and strap on stethoscopes that, pressing to the ground, they listen through for sounds of netherer moles undermining their undermining. If they did hear them doing this, he tells himself, then they could dig an even lower tunnel, undermine the under-undermining: on and on forever, or at least for as long as the volume and mass of the globe allowed it--until the earth gave over to a molten core, or, bypassing this, they emerged in Australia to find there was no war there ...."
A strange book, you get hints of character's eccentricity, but I'm not sure you ever fully know any of the characters. Even Serge.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading this book changed the way I approach my own writing. Uncannily consistent voice, detailed and meticulous, poetic and sharp. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stuart Dummit
so boring, a tiresome string of meaningless information about bugs, drugs and Egypt in early XX century. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Humberto Lucero
This is a beautifully written story. Kind of reminded me, in feeling, style, tone, atmosphere and nuance, of certain passages in The Recognitions, Ada, Gravity's Rainbow, and a lot... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Robert M. Koretsky
Sadly it was unavoidable when doing this review, so for those who have not read this yet, then please do take on board a very clear spoiler alert. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mr. J. M. Haines
My one-star rating pretty well sums up my feeling about this book.Published on July 25, 2014 by Barbara Gibbs
C has all the ingredients to be another Gravity's Rainbow: war, technology, sex, drugs, intrigue, prison escapes, and a touch of the mystical and supernatural. Read morePublished on April 7, 2014 by Steven Davis
Tom McCarthy's C is a rewarding challenge. The novel focuses on Serge Carrefax who is a bit of a zelig--the story is not really boy meets world, but rather boy exists in world and... Read morePublished on March 1, 2014 by Elizabeth Hendry
"C" is the biography of a certain Serge Carrefax. Narrated in the present tense, it adequately begins with the protagonist's birth in a beautiful and strange manor in the English... Read morePublished on July 8, 2013 by Guillermo Maynez
Readers who already enjoy Tom McCarthy's books will be easy to sell on "C" and they will be satisfied. Read morePublished on May 15, 2013 by gtra1n