If I had to sum this book up in one word, that word would be ‘disappointing’.
I absolutely loved Tom Mccarthy’s Remainder and when I heard that C had been longlisted (and now shortlisted) for the Booker prize, I had high hopes for the book. But having FINALLY finished it, I have to say I found the whole thing a bit underwhelming.
C follows the life of Serge Carrefax, a curious boy born to an engineer and inventor father, raised in a beautiful big house in the English countryside where his parents teach deaf children to speak and breed silk moths. His sister is obsessed with insects and biology and Serge becomes obsessed with wireless radio and transmitting signals.
The book follows Serge through his childhood, his stay at a health retreat overseas in the run up to the war, his time in the air force, his post war days injecting heroin and trying to numb his memories, and finally as a civil servant, working in Egypt to position new pylons for the Government.
Each stage is interesting and the whole book is well written, but it also all feels very cool and aloof. Although the entire book focuses on this one character, it feels like you never really get close enough to him to know him. It is very stylised (and if I was an English student I’m sure there are layers of meaning to analyse) but it also feels very lacking in substance. All the beautiful writing couldn’t cover the fact that this was hard going to read. I have been plodding on with this book for what feels like forever, and for someone who reads very quickly (even though I’m not reading books on the tube anymore, I still usually plough through them), it almost became a chore to read.
So, all in all, like I said, disappointing. But if you are looking for a beautiful read that also seems to pull you along for the ride, do read Remainder. It is really very good.
Next up? I think The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. The book trailer did it for me. So scary!!!