Booker barnburning: C

Have recently plumbed the Booker shortlist; read (and liked) Room, and just picked up C, by Tom McCarthy.

It's a cool sort of book; you're plugging along with the protagonist, Serge, as he grows up in the early 20th century, and then you find yourself in a seance, the ghost of his sister looming unacknowledged in the ether of the pages. Or you discover yourself in Egypt, thrust back into Serge's childhood fixation with decoding messages hidden in the pages of the newspaper when he discovers the way early Egyptians secreted stories in scarabs. At times difficult to connect with, the narrative nonetheless crackles with a kind of fateful electricity.

My favorite excerpt (fascinated as I am by the commonness of my life and its definitive experiences, which I've come to imagine are little more exciting than discovering the sky is blue):

[Y]ou have to look at all of this, at all these histories of looking. The mistake most of my contemporaries make is to assume that they’re the first—-or, even when it’s clear they’re not, that their moment of looking is somehow definitive, standing outside of the long history of which it merely forms another chapter …

Washington Post review.

Guardian review.