Smells Like Cordite

If you are in any way a literary person, you must read Tom McCarthy’s Remainder. Throw everything down. Forget that passable novel you’re reading. This is the real deal.

I will have considerably more to say about this extraordinary book later.


  1. Extraordinary indeed. Thogh filled with a feeling of uneasiness throughout the novel, caused mainly by the unpredictability of the narrator and consenquently the action taking place.
    A journey through violence, in fact.

  2. I was so excited to post and say “I told you so.” Then I look at all these lovely comments, and I feel like I’m a little late to the party. Instead of saying “I told you so,” I’d like to say “Thank you for putting the phrase “smells like cordite” in your subject line. I can’t wait to discuss…

  3. Remainder has sold more copies (pro rata) stateside than McCarthy’s native UK. The jury’s still out on why.

    It’s weird to read this in late 2007 as it was this time two years ago that the book was just out in a 1,000 run on an obscure French publisher, having being passed over by successive publishers who dismissed it as unmarketable.

  4. I actually thought it smelled more like cooking liver, but that’s just me. A great book and one of the few books that lived up to the hype from the publicist who sent it to me nearly a year before it came out.

  5. Andrew, do you happen to know what the numbers are in the UK? I recently read that there are 38,000 copies of the US TPO in print, which isn’t bad for literary fiction from a debut author.

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