Remainder (novel)

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Remainder
Remainder MetronomeFirstEd.jpg
Cover of the first edition, published by Metronome Press in 2005
Author Tom McCarthy
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Vintage
Publication date
  • 2005 (Metronome)
  • 13 February 2007 (Vintage)
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 308 pp
ISBN 978-0-307-27835-7
821/.92

Remainder is a 2005 novel by British author Tom McCarthy. It is McCarthy's third published work. It was first written in 2001, although not published until 2005 (in a limited run of 750 copies printed by the French Metronome Press). The novel was later re-printed by UK publishing house Alma Books; Vintage Books printed the book in the United States.[1] The plot revolves around an unnamed narrator who has received a large financial settlement after an accident, and his obsession with recreating half-remembered events from his life before the incident.

Remainder was published to acclaim from critics. McCarthy received the 2007 Believer Book Award for the novel, after its republication.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Remainder tells the story of an unnamed narrator traumatized by an accident which "involved something falling from the sky". Eight and a half million pounds richer due to a compensation settlement but hopelessly estranged from the world around him, Remainder's protagonist spends his time and money paying others to reconstruct and re-enact vaguely remembered scenes and situations from his past. These re-enactments are driven by a need to inhabit the world "authentically" rather than in the "second-hand" manner that his traumatic situation has bequeathed him. When the recreation of mundane events fails to quench this thirst for authenticity, he starts re-enacting more and more violent events.

Themes[edit]

Like much of McCarthy's work, the novel heavily features repetition and repeated actions. It also deals with amnesia and issues of memory.

Reception[edit]

Remainder was generally well received by critics. Writing in the Guardian, Patrick Ness called it "splendidly odd".[3] The New Yorker noted that "McCarthy’s portrait of the pursuit of total control is arresting",[4] while Peter Carty, in the Independent, said "McCarthy's prose is precise and unpretentious".[5]

Film adaptation[edit]

A film adaptation written and directed by Israeli artist Omer Fast was released in 2015; it is Fast's first major film.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ness, Patrick (11 August 2006). "Remainder". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Believer - The Believer Book Award". The Believer. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Ness, Patrick (2006-08-11). "Review: Remainder by Tom McCarthy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 
  4. ^ "Briefly Noted". The New Yorker. 2007-03-05. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 
  5. ^ "Remainder, by Tom McCarthy". The Independent. 2005-12-12. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 
  6. ^ Morton, Tom (June 2014). "Novel Idea". Frieze Magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2014.