Remainder – Tom McCarthy

Cross posted…….

Remainder

Tom McCarthy has received much acclaim for his first novel, and rightly so. The writer-turned-artist has crafted a story that is unique, provocative, and intelligent. While pushing the envelope, he has used the medium of the novel to explore the questions of reality, memory, authority, and obsession in a unique way. Like the epic theater movement, founded by Bertolt Brecht in the early twentieth century, Remainder presents an idea and asks the reader to make his or her own judgment about the story; here, put another way, is a further definition of the Brechtian approach: “Epic theatre assumes that the purpose of a play, more than entertainment or the imitation of reality, is to present ideas and invites the audience to make judgments on them.”

And, thus empowered by the author, we are free to arrive at our own evaluation of Remainder. Able to observe, dispassionately, the struggle of a disturbed man battered by both misfortune and great fortune, for whom the re-creation of his past becomes the driving force in his life, we can, with clarity of vision and lack of emotion observe the search for self by a man who has neither. We can watch as he relentlessly marches towards madness, taking others with him, in the pursuit of the unobtainable. Or, we can regard the novel as an absurd work of art whose purpose is the minute examination of the inner processes of a disturbed man, providing no meaning for us other than as an abstraction of a bizarre idea. Like Brecht, McCarthy presents an idea; the rest is up to us.

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“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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