Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Book 6 for the (Wo)Man Booker Prize)


Frances loved it.

I could barely finish it.

While I found McCarthy’s style initially resembling the satire and wit of Edward St. Aubyn, I quickly tired of his pedantic prose. Oil spills, conglomerates, parachuters who die because their strings have become unattached, all the metaphors for business as usual in a world gone awry. For me, what could have been endlessly fascinating fizzled to a firecracker which wouldn’t explode.

And now I’m reading The Chimes, a book with beautiful, melodic phrasing. So far.

You can follow our progress at #ShadowWoManBooker should you choose.

12 thoughts on “Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Book 6 for the (Wo)Man Booker Prize)

    • It’s probably just me, parrish lantern. Everyone else on the Shadow Jury panel seems to consider this one of their top three or higher. For me, there wasn’t enough Story. No one to connect to. I felt more and more as if I was reading a news article rather than a novel.


  1. Sorry you didn’t like it, for me there is nothing as bad, when it concerns books, than being stuck in the middle of a novel I seriously begin to dislike. Call it guilt…I have a difficult time with putting a book aside.
    Wishing you a nice week dear Meredith xx


    • It was really a struggle for me, to read something I wasn’t enjoying, but I have committed to read the Booker list (as much as I can) before the middle of September. I suffer the same guilt as you, practically unable to put a book aside. Or, maybe we could call it compulsion to finish it, or hope that it will redeem itself in our eyes by the conclusion.


    • So true, Claire, that this is the beauty of longlists. It is also one of the greatest joys of blogging about books, to see which of us like which novels, or how we can react so differently about the same one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom McCarthy does seem to be writer who divides – he has been criticised for being too intellectual, i.e. too interested in ideas over the other requirements of a novel. I’ve read a couple of his novels and find myself admiring rather than loving.


    • I’m interested that he has been criticized for being too intellectual. That’s a good name for boring. 😉 There were certainly a few sentences that I admired, a few ideas freshly presented, but I am far from loving his work. That I’ve read so far.


  3. You all of the Shadow Jury are doing an amazing job! Have you selected a shortlist yet? Now, thanks to this post, I didn’t know Tom M.’s Satin Island is longlisted for the Booker. I recently came across the info that his earlier novel Remainder has been adapted into film just recently. I can see he’s a very different style of writer. He’s been called a ‘Kafka for the Google age’. 😉 I admit I haven’t read any of his works.


  4. Pingback: My Personal List for the (Wo)Man Booker Shadow Panel Prize | Dolce Bellezza

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