The tyranny of matter?
There that?s my summary of this debut novel by Tom McCarthy.
You know its really refreshing, think about how many novels are thematically concerned with the tyranny of time?
He already had established his avant-garde credentials as the founding member of the International Necronautical Society, where one of its axioms is: Death, is viewed by the INS as ?a cipher for the outer limit of description, for the point at which the code breaks down?. The society explores the relationships between representation (in the artistic usage) and death.
Where to begin?. There is the narrator hero of no name, who could be referred to as the Enactor, who surrounds himself with re-enactors, who also have no names with the notable exception of the head Re-enactor, or facilitator, Nazrul Ram Vyas, Naz for short. This will be explained forthwith?Lets see, the plot structure is chronologically straight forward. The prose has a captivating, unassuming pulse, is invested with its own logic, and pace is brisk.
Our hero has experienced brain trauma, an accident involving some ?bits? falling down from the sky. The first section is not so strange as we learn the nature and extent of his injury and the current state of his consciousness: that he is specifically amnesiac about the accident. But this works in his favor, as evidently this accident had a non-natural cause, and he receives a mysterious settlement of 8 ? million pounds sterling. What is not in his favor, and which starts the novel?s own system of phenomenology, is that his primary motor functions have to be re-routed. He has to ?learn how to eat a carrot? by consciously thinking about every movement involved. As he gradually regains a semblance of normal life, and in the course of relearning, he develops an amazing ability to deconstruct: actions and events, the relation of objects in space.