Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, 2015
Meet U. - a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their 'corporate anthropologist' to help decode and manipulate the world around them - all the more so now that a giant, epoch-defining project is in the offing.
Instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades.
Is there, U. wonders, a secret logic holding all these images together - a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master meaning of our age? Might it have something to do with South Pacific cargo cults or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.
As U. oscillates between the visionary and the vague, brilliance and bullshit, Satin Island emerges, an impassioned and exquisite novel for our disjointed times.
What listeners say about Satin Island
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I really thought this was it...
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Let me start by saying that the writing of Tom McCarthy is addictively enjoyable to read.
So much so that, after devouring his first chapter in a Terminal bookstore, I bought the audiobook for my flight with reckless anticipation.
McCarthy is clearly a brilliant and wonderfully tuned writer, but if the publishers summary promised a book the oscillated between 'brilliance & bullshit', I felt it too often flickered between brilliance & navel-gazing. For me, 'bullshit' (perhaps a hint of real DBC Pierre madness) might have filled the void, so my excitement fizzled to an irritation.
Ok, yes, I'm a little pissed the (parachutist) sub-narrative failed to ignite, (and of this, I was fore-warned) but I make no apology for offering my attention for a little narrative reward.
Don't be misled by one opinion—decide for your self but I came away feeling this book was the published study for a future great novel.
Would you ever listen to anything by Tom McCarthy again?
Yes. Addiction is not a casual reference.
What does James Garnon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Satin Island?
I have been cruel enough already—and I'm not worthy of directing this artist.
Any additional comments?
I genuinely expect great things...
1 person found this helpful
the worst narrator I ever encountered.
What would have made Satin Island better?
Different narrator. He stops mid-sentence, emphasises random sounds, and genuinely struggles with words which have more than three syllables. I own over 200 audiobooks, but this is the first one I encountered where the narrator actually COULD NOT READ. Even authors, who are obviously not trained professionals, read their books much more professionally than this man. I am returning this book.
How could the performance have been better?
This narrator should be banned. It was like listening to recorded speaking exercises of someone who is working on their stuttering problem.
5 people found this helpful
Pretentious and cliche-ridden
Has Satin Island put you off other books in this genre?
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Any additional comments?
Pretentious, cliche-ridden and outright boring. One of the very few occasions I have given up half way!
"Intoxicated by his own verbosity".
Huge disappointment! Kept going - It had to be going somewhere? How wrong I was!