So, one of the blurbs on Tom McCarthy's Remainder
claims it's a great work of existential horror, while on Malfi's Snow
praise rings about its classical horror accomplishments. Snow
's monster fiction falls squarely in the realist prose-stylings of a particular genre camp (I think--but, wait--what's that mean again?), while Remainder
is the shape of the new novel, blasting apart the old realist conventions (if you buy Zadie Smith, and she makes a damn good case).
So I thought it'd be cool to read/review these at the same time.
UPDATE 1 -- 5/16
About 100 pages into Remainder
and some 60 into Snow
. In one, the protagonist and many of the people he runs into lament the lack of authenticity in our actions, in their own lives and selves--they're plagued by an uncanny separation between performance and genuine Being. In the other, the protagonist and many of the people he runs into are more literally plagued by an uncanny separation between performance and the genuine Being behind such action--here, too, what seems
is severed from some sense of reality or Truth which haunts the margins of the realist prose.
Both books are also arias of Pattern--one more self-consciously articulating and assessing, the other content to rely upon the the familiar cyclical structures of genre.
UPDATE 2 --
God, what asshole wrote update 1? It must have been typed with one pinky in the air. I finished Snow
. It was full of monsters, monsters somehow made of snow, who swirl into some more concrete form and then slice into humans, putting them on like "skin-suits" (as one character describes it). Who says the novel is dead?