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Daniel Lea

3 Tom McCarthy For a writer who, by his own admission, has ‘nothing to say’ (McCarthy, 2012: 8), Tom McCarthy has a great deal to say about nothing. The absent, the cryptic, the negative, the uncategorisable are such recurrent tropes in his writing and conceptual installations that it is not unreasonable to describe McCarthy as the contemporary author most interested in nothing. In a riposte to the hysterical realist trend for recent fiction to be explicitly and declaratively ‘about’ something, McCarthy pursues an artistic agenda wedded to intangibility and

in Twenty-first-century fiction
Contemporary British voices
Author: Daniel Lea

This study explores the landscape of contemporary British fiction through detailed analysis of five authors that have emerged to critical prominence in the 21st century. The authors addressed - Ali Smith, Andrew O’Hagan, Tom McCarthy, Sarah Hall, and Jon McGregor – have all established themselves through popular and critical success, but have received significantly less attention than some of their peers. This book does not seek to thrust these authors into a putative canon of 21st century literary writing, but rather to explore through close attention to the resonances, continuities, elisions, and frictions across their works the temper of the contemporary moment as it is expressed by a group of writers. Each is devoted a chapter that analyses their creative output to-date within the frame of their stylistic and thematic development, as well as drawing comparisons across their writing and that of their peers. The intention is never to provide the kind of synoptical overview that a period-study might suggest, instead Twenty-First Century Fiction: Contemporary British Voices seeks to juxtapose critical readings within a constellation of contemporary literary concerns to examine what cultural energies and flows are emerging in the new century. In doing so, it identifies three recurrent areas of concern that might be said to infiltrate our times; these are Materiality, Connectivity, and Authenticity. In many forms and through many articulations, these issues emerge as insistent – if inchoate – questions about how current literary practice is responding to the challenge of the post-millennial world.

Jared Pappas-Kelley

form art and poetry and yet which is entwined with the means of the negative miracle; with its ability to persist, which is likewise a disruption. An unknown protagonist remakes an absence when an object falls from the sky: the crack in David Simpson’s wall, spiral jetties, or what Bartlebooth knew (a puzzle) In Tom McCarthy’s novel Remainder, an unnamed protagonist attempts to recreate and execute a series of obsessive scenarios in real life after a catastrophic accident that leaves him cut off from his experiences and memories. Through it, absence grows and exerts

in Solvent form
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Jared Pappas-Kelley

In Chapter five, art is examined through the image of a house ravaged by fire, put forth by Giorgio Agamben’s The Man without Content and in relation to the destructions of art explored previously and the Momart Fire specifically (perhaps here made literal). It also builds on examples such as Thomas Hirschhorn’s work Crystal of Resistance and its accompanying texts, in order to understand an operation in art that is made visible through these events. It additionally returns to ideas from Tom McCarthy’s Remainder as well as Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Through these examples and events, one might begin to understand something more of art. In attempting to represent an affinity—to coax or draw it out—the text forms a portrait of sorts (in the Jean-Luc Nancy sense), and through it we might begin to see something that has disappeared through an operation of art.

in Solvent form
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Technologies, spiritualisms, and modernities
Sas Mays and Neil Matheson

, respected figures from the world of science – William Crookes, Charles Richet, Oliver Lodge, Camille Flammarion, and others – looked to the territories opened up by psychic phenomena as the terrain of suspected new forces and powers to be colonised by science. Within literature these ideas have been explored by Tom McCarthy in his 2010 novel C, which traces the short life of Serge Carrefax from his birth on the family estate of Versoie, with its school for the deaf and a domineering father experimenting with early telegraphy, to the trenches and prison camps of the First

in The machine and the ghost
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Contemporary criticism and the untimely
Daniel Lea

perform a bungee jump, a moment of crystalline coherence as he observes beneath him ‘the whole city […] shimmering and shining so much that it feels as though he’s standing on a diving board over a swimming pool, waiting to somersault and twist into clear blue water’ (McGregor, 2003: 241). After such a moment of clarity, the next step brings a plummet towards perspectiveless immersion in the world, a flattening of vision that is also experienced by the protagonist of Tom McCarthy’s C (2010a) as he soars above the battlefields of First World War France, ecstatic that the

in Twenty-first-century fiction
Jane Martin

the aforementioned gold key) and to another who quipped ‘Young’s the name I rejoice in’.35 Mary addressed outdoor meetings at Deptford, Greenwich, Woolwich and Penge. One of the Dockers’ organisers, Irish-born Tom McCarthy, spoke on her behalf, as did Mary Lawrenson and Enid Stacy. Although narrowly defeated, she secured strong labour support and a highly respectable poll. This was in stark contrast to the performance of the socialist men in the county council elections the following month.36 Within the year, Henry Gover was dead. The longest serving member of the

in Making socialists
Ruth Barton

: Sex in a Cold Climate (Channel 4, 1998); States of Fear (RTÉ, 1999); Suing the Pope (BBC, 2002); Cardinal Secrets (RTÉ, 2002); Deliver Us From Evil (Amy J. Berg, 2006). The release of two high-profile fiction films, Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008) and Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015) created further associative links between the Irish Catholic Church and child abuse, as did the popular television series, Ray Donovan (Showtime, 2013–) and the Netflix documentary, The Keepers (2017). Shortly after the release of The Magdalene Sisters came

in Irish cinema in the twenty-first century
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David Brauner

times and twice, respectively. Peter Ackroyd, Martin Amis, J.G. Ballard, Pat Barker, Julian Barnes, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Jonathan Coe, Jim Crace, Margaret Drabble, John Fowles, Janice Galloway, Sarah Hall, Alan Hollinghurst, Ian McEwan, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Kelman, A.L. Kennedy, Hari Kunzru, Hanif Kureishi, Tom McCarthy, Jon McGregor, David Mitchell, Caryl Phillips, Salman Rushdie, Will Self, Iain Sinclair, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Graham Swift, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, Irvine Welsh and Jeanette Winterson have all had monographs and/or chapters

in Howard Jacobson
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Philip Roth, antisemitism and the Holocaust
David Brauner

letter of the alphabet as the title of the novel, Jacobson is placing it in the tradition of other postmodernist texts, notably Thomas Pynchon’s V (1963), John Berger’s G (1972) and Tom McCarthy’s C (2010). Given the stigma attached to the letter, however, Jacobson might also have had in mind the ‘A’ of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), an association that is reinforced by the proximity of that novel, historically and canonically, to Moby Dick (1851), J’s most significant intertext. 32 This has become an over-used and widely misunderstood idea

in Howard Jacobson