Review: Satin Island

Tom MacCarthy’s Satin Island is a very beautiful and evocative work.  His prose captures images, ideas, interactions – many powerful moments one encounters in moving through our interconnected world – with clarity and dynamism.  Reading Satin Island is a tour of the time from an engaged guide.

What Satin Island didn’t give me was enough of a structure for those moments to cohere into something that MacCarthy wanted to tell me about.  Of course that undersells the work.  By his selection and juxtaposition of images and incidents, MacCarthy forms a whole.  I’m sure Joyceans will enjoy pulling on threads of subtext to get any message that MacCarthy is sending.

I’m not much of a Joycean.  I do like rich works of literature, but I do prefer a more explicit literary structure around it.  Many of the moments are thought provoking or plain breathtaking, so Island may be worth a trip.  But don’t tell them I sent you.

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