Tom McCarthy


Book, 23 x 15.2 cm, 310 p, language: English, publisher: London: Jonathan Cape, Random House, ISBN: 9780224091251.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2024/686).

Literary synopsis

''Tom McCarthy’s novel, C, is set in the early 20th Century and follows the life of Serge Carrefax, who is raised on the grounds of a school for the deaf. From a young age, Serge is exposed to a variety of developing technologies—particularly wireless radio—by his father, an amateur inventor. The book goes on to trace Serge's maturation as he goes to a sanatorium for treatment of an intestinal illness, serves as an aviator in WWI, and then moves to London and Egypt after the war. C intentionally never delves into the psychological states of its characters, preferring an aesthetic posthumanism that results in obsessive observations of everyday objects, and, most importantly, technological artefacts, which are rendered in almost pornographic detail. Serge (whose name is a pun on an electric surge) is an affectless narrator, who even seems unfazed by his sister’s death, and after having served in WWI, notes that —instead of being shell-shocked— he actively enjoyed the War (late in the novel, Serge drops out of a drawing class because he cannot master perspective—i.e. he lacks ‘depth’). In focusing on modern systems and developing technologies, C attempts to show how the globalised networks of our contemporary world were already in place at the beginning of the 20th Century''.

- Emmett Stinson

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: No Link to Artworks.

Genre: Plain Fiction.

Publishing: Publishing House.

Theme: Post-Humanism, Systems Theory, Technology.

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