Review: Satin Island – Tom McCarthy

satinislandThis is a book that seems to split its readers in to two camps; the lovers and the haters. I sadly fall in to the latter. Satin Island has been shortlisted for the Man Booker this year and, honestly, it’s books like this that give prize lists a bad name and make them feel out of touch to the average Joe.

Firstly, the positives, the structure of this book is quite interesting and it was under 200 pages. Other than that it’s absolutely exasperating with a detestable main character and absolutely no plot. I can honestly find nothing to discuss about this book regarding the plot as there just wasn’t one. I don’t mind that as long as there are good characters, but the main character was just blah and the peripheral characters were barely there either. This just really frustrated me.

It read like non-fiction in parts, but the worst kind. If I wanted to read an essay on anthropology I’d have found one. Oh and also, there was an excessive use of parentheses which really got on my wick.

I gave this book 1* and I feel that is generous. It was pretentious, it felt self-absorbed and just didn’t give off a good impression. It could have been great, there were a few passages that were just stand up beautiful but, on the whole, I just felt I was banging against a wall constantly while reading it and never quite getting to the greatness. I felt unfulfilled reading this book. I wanted more but at the same time, I wanted far, far less. Essentially, I just wanted a different book entirely and I thank the Gods that this was short.

NB: I was stuck on a bus and only had this to read. I don’t know if I would have finished it had I not been stuck on said bus. Take from that what you will.