U. is a 'corporate anthropologist' who, while working on a giant, epoch-defining project no one really understands, is also tasked with writing the Great Report on our society. But 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.
Is there a secret logic holding all these images together? Once cracked, will it unlock the master-meaning of our era? Might it have something to do with the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.
Smart, shimmering and thought-provoking…McCarthy isn’t a frustrated cultural theorist who must content himself with writing novels; he’s a born novelist, a pretty fantastic one, who has figured out a way to make cultural theory funny, scary and suspenseful — in other words, compulsively readable.
Should you read the new Tom McCarthy book? (A: Yes. Always yes.)
Dazzling and elusive… a magisterial ethnographic portrait of our overstimulated, interconnected, simulacra-addicted times.
The kind of strange and ambitious fiction that you feared might have died with J. G. Ballard. ...Provokes and beguiles and, at the point of revelation, it withholds. On finishing it you will have the powerful urge to throw it across the room, then the powerful urge to pick it up to read again. And that’s what’s so brilliant.
Confusing, clever and about to be massive.