McCarthy, Tom 1969-
McCarthy, Tom 1969-
Born May 22, 1969.
Author and artist. Lecturer and tutor at institutions, including the Architectural Association, the Royal College, Goldsmiths College, Central Saint Martin School of Art, and the California Institute of Architecture.
International Necronautical Society (general secretary).
Tintin and the Secret of Literature (nonfiction), Granta Books (London, England), 2006.
Remainder (novel), Alma Books (Richmond, Surrey, England), 2006, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to anthologies, including London from Punk to Blair, Reaktion Books, 2004; Theology and the Political, Duke University Press, 2005; and The Milgram Experiment, Jan van Eyck Press. Contributor to periodicals, including Times Literary Supplement, Contemporary Magazine, and the Observer.
Tom McCarthy is an author, artist, and lecturer whose debut novel, Remainder, is "an assured work of existential horror," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic. The novel's unnamed narrator, living in London, is a recovering victim of a traumatic accident in which he was gravely injured by "something falling from the sky." After months of rehabilitation, during which he had to relearn such basic acts as walking and eating, the narrator has been rewarded with a cash settlement worth millions. The settlement was designed to buy his silence about the particulars of the accident, but the effects of his injuries almost wiped out his memory anyway. With his newfound wealth, the narrator sets out to reconstruct particular fragments of his memory, hoping that focusing on these vignettes from his past will help recover his identity. He hires a facilitator to help him reconstruct things he vaguely remembers, and he even employs actors to reenact the scenes he partially remembers. "Soon, he has hundreds of people working to satisfy his tyrannical specifications, which grow more and more elaborate and, finally, destructive," observed Jon Baskin in the Small Spiral Notebook.
"Like Hamlet, McCarthy's narrator becomes obsessed with reenacting the lives (and deaths) of others. Levees of consciousness begin to fail and he descends into fugue states that pry open other doors of possibility," observed Tod Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times. "The result is a dizzying existential free-fall that calls into question the very nature of identity." McCarthy's "superb stylistic control and uncanny imagination transport this novel beyond the borders of science fiction," commented Liesl Schillinger in the New York Times Book Review. "His bleak humor, hauntingly affectless narrator and methodical expansion on his theme make Remainder more than an entertaining brain-teaser: it's a work of novelistic philosophy, as disturbing as it is funny." A Publishers Weekly contributor concluded that McCarthy's depiction of his narrator's thorough involvement in his "fantasy world as it cascades out of control is brilliant all the way through the abrupt climax."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2006, Allison Block, review of Remainder, p. 27.
Entertainment Weekly, February 16, 2007, Michael Endelman, review of Remainder, p. 82.
Independent (London, England), December 12, 2005, Peter Carty, "An Everyman's Life History Doomed to Repeat Itself as Farce," review of Remainder.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Remainder, p. 1096.
Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2007, Tod Goldberg, review of Remainder.
New York Times Book Review, February 25, 2007, Liesl Schillinger, "Play It Again," review of Remainder, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly, October 30, 2006, review of Remainder, p. 34.
Times Literary Supplement, November 25, 2005, Michael Caines, "Deja Vu Again and Again," review of Remainder, p. 21.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 4, 2007, Tod Goldberg, "Debut Novel Focuses on Memory, Identity," review of Remainder, p. 10.
BookForum,http://www.bookforum.com/ (May 16, 2007), Lenora Todar, "Death Becomes Him," review of Remainder.
ReadySteadyBook,http://www.readysteadybook.com/ (December 18, 2005), Mark Thwaite, interview with Tom McCarthy.
Small Spiral Notebook,http://www.smallspiralnotebook.com/ (May 16, 2007), Jon Baskin, review of Remainder.
Surplus Magger,http://surplusmatter.com/ (January 14, 2007), biography of Tom McCarthy.