The Making of Incarnation

The Making of Incarnation

FROM THE TWICE BOOKER SHORLISTED AUTHOR OF C AND SATIN ISLAND

Summary

Bodies in motion. Birds, bees and bobsleighs. What is the force that moves the sun and other stars? Where's our fucking airplane? What's inside Box 808, and why does everybody want it?

Deep within the archives of time-and-motion pioneer Lillian Gilbreth lies a secret. Famous for producing solid light-tracks that captured the path of workers' movements, Gilbreth helped birth the era of mass observation and big data. Did she also, as her broken correspondence with a young Soviet physicist suggests, discover in her final days a 'perfect' movement, one that would 'change everything'?

An international hunt begins for the one box missing from her records, and we follow contemporary motion-capture consultant Mark Phocan, as well as his collaborators and shadowy antagonists, across geo-political fault lines and experimental zones: medical labs, CGI studios, military research centres . . . Places where the frontiers of potential - to cure, kill, understand or entertain - are constantly tested and refined.

And all the while, work is underway on the blockbuster film Incarnation, an epic space tragedy. Commercial box-office fodder? Or a sublimely mythical exploration of the animation, contemplation and possession of flesh - ours and others' - traumatised, erotic, beautiful, obscene...

Audacious and mesmeric, The Making of Incarnation weaves a set of stories one inside the other, rings within rings, a perpetual-motion machine. Tom McCarthy peers through the screen, or veil, of technological modernity to reveal the underlying historical and symbolic structures of human experience.

Reviews

  • In its conceptual magnitude, its sustainedly dazzling prose... The Making of Incarnation feels utterly original, utterly new, utterly magical; a visitor from the future. Tom McCarthy, the most visionary of contemporary writers, is light years ahead of anyone writing anywhere currently.
    Neel Mukherjee

About the author

Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy's work has been translated into more than 20 languages and adapted for cinema, theatre and radio. His third novel C was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Walter Scott Prize and the European Literature Prize and his fourth, Satin Island, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham-Campbell Literature Prize by Yale University. McCarthy is also author of the study Tintin and the Secret of Literature, and of the essay collection Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish. He lives in Berlin.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more