Our critics discuss Tom McCarthy's Remainder.

Our critics discuss Tom McCarthy's Remainder.

Our critics discuss Tom McCarthy's Remainder.

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Nov. 15 2010 7:09 AM

The Audio Book Club on Remainder

Our critics discuss Tom McCarthy's Remainder.


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This month, Michael Agger, Meghan O'Rourke, and Troy Patterson discuss Tom McCarthy's Remainder. Savvy listeners will wonder why the book club decided to mull over McCarthy's 2005 debut instead of his latest novel, C, which was released earlier this year. The explanation is simple: They thought the debut would be more fun.

In Remainder, an unnamed narrator receives a hefty financial settlement—of 8.5 million pounds—after a vague accident ("something falling from the sky"). With his newfound wealth, he decides to painstakingly replicate half-remembered scenes from his past (which may not really be memories at all, but visions). These enactments, or in some cases re-enactments, somehow allow the narrator to feel that he's living more authentically. It's a complex, philosophical novel, which our book club, on the whole, rather liked.

You can listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or by clicking on the links below. To download the MP3 file, right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then use the "save" or "download" command to save the audio file to your hard drive.

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Michael Agger is an editor at The New Yorker. Follow him on Twitter.

Meghan O’Rourke is Slate’s culture critic and an advisory editor. She was previously an editor at the New Yorker. The Long Goodbye, a memoir about her mother’s death, is now out in paperback.

Troy Patterson is Slate’s writer at large and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine.