TOM WAS BORN IN 1969 AND LIVES IN THE UK.
Satin Island is an unnerving novel that promises to give us the first and last word on the world—modern, postmodern, whatever world you think you are living in.
U., a “corporate anthropologist,” is tasked with writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to coalesce into symbols that can be translated into some kind of account that makes sense. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape.
In Satin Island, Tom McCarthy captures—as only he can—the way we experience our world, our efforts to find meaning (or just to stay awake) and discern the narratives we think of as our lives.
JEFF VANDERMEER noted in a recent interview with Lauren Sarner:
''It’s important to recognize that bits of contemporary mainstream literary novels like Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island are doing more interesting things with regard to environmental extrapolation than the entirety of whole science fiction novels.''
''Because we’re now fairly deep into the middle of this slow apocalypse, writers of fiction set in the here-and-now can speculate quite effectively without recourse to the science-fictional. My next novel is science fiction and deals with issues of biotech, scarcity, and survival. But the one after that is set in the present-day and has no speculative elements. That happened naturally, but I think it also happened because we are, as they say, already living in the SFnal future. I also think Aase Berg and other poets are demonstrating that poetry is quite a powerful form when it comes to interesting exploration of environmental issues. ''
“McCarthy, author of three previous novels, including the Man Booker Prize finalist C. (2010) and the manic Men in Space (2012), tightens up his offbeat style in his slimmest novel to date….This latest strange, smart narrative experiment showcases McCarthy’s gift for wildly original fiction.”
“A dizzying take on possible conspiracies, corporate philosophies and one man’s idle thoughts…. As the crossed-out subtitles on the cover—including “An Essay” and “A Treatise”—suggest, this is a malleable work, one where dreams of unreal cities carry as much weight as impressions of real ones and where a long discussion of the way Starbucks operates in Seattle may be a key image or a complete digression. There are moments of devastation here, and the way McCarthy reveals them are among the novel’s highlights….the effort to follow its surprising routes pays off. ”
“McCarthy’s newest novel is as delightfully unclassifiable as his last effort, C….This novel of ideas is begging to be read and reread for meaning with pens, diagrams, and maybe even a dossier or two thrown in for good measure.”