In Conversation: Tom McCarthy and Ben Marcus

Friday April 3, 2015
07:00 pm

Tags: Event



Photo courtesy of Nicole Strasser (McCarthy)

The widely acclaimed authors Tom McCarthy and Ben Marcus came together to discuss McCarthy's new novel, Satin Island. 


Kirkus calls the novel, "a dizzying take on possible conspiracies, corporate philosophies and one man’s idle thoughts…. There are moments of devastation here, and the way McCarthy reveals them are among the novel’s highlights…the effort to follow its surprising routes pays off.”


Whiting Writers’ Award-winner Ben Marcus's latest short story collection, Leaving the Sea, was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as, “Exhilarating....Thoroughly and perversely entertaining.”


About Satin Island

Tom McCarthy’s novels Remainder, C (which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize), and Men in Space have led to accolades such as “a master craftsman who is steering the contemporary novel towards exciting territories” (the Observer), “unquestionably brilliant” (the Times of London), and “the standard-bearer of the avant-garde novel” (Slate). Now, in his new novel Satin Island (Knopf, 2/13), McCarthy gives us what Publishers Weekly calls a “novel of ideas” and says is “delightfully unclassifiable” and “begging to be read and reread.” 


Satin Island centers on U., a “corporate anthropologist” working for a company. (“What
does an anthropologist working for a business actually do? We purvey cultural insight,” explains U in the novel.) He is writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that will sum up our era. But he finds himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to come together into some form that he can turn into a sensible account. As we follow U. on this journey, McCarthy ultimately presents us with a look at the way we experience our world, how we find meaning, and the narratives we think of as our lives.


Tom McCarthy was born in 1969 and lives in London. He is known in the art world for the reports, manifestos, and media interventions he has made as general secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network. His previous books include Men in Space, C, Remainder, and Tintin and the Secret of Literature.


Ben Marcus is the author of several books, including The Flame Alphabet and The Age of Wire and String.