It’s no secret that discussion of Remainder is my own special drug. Bookninja’s got my hit:
Literature has to remain frustrating – to withhold something, remain incomplete – or it’s not literature anymore, but rather entertainment, edification or interpretation. That’s literature’s USP: staying unresolved, keeping its most vital messages unspoken, creating a zone of noise where everything and nothing is said at the same time. My books are most definitely godless, utterly atheistic. In a way, Men in Space is about confronting that absolute absence, the ellipse where there should be a full circle. Remainder, too, begins with the heavens falling to the ground. In religious, or post-religious terms, they turn around the death of God I suppose. But there’s no ‘spirituality’ in them; that’s a word I’d never use. When people die, what they experience is not transcendence but an intimacy with matter, with the world. So Anton in Men in Space sees the ground from closer and closer: the layers of moss, the beetles in them, the specks of earth. And the drug dealer whose death the hero of Remainder re-enacts has a similar experience (the hero imagines): looking at the cigarette butt, the texture of the pavement, the letters on a cab-company’s window reflected in a puddle. These things are beautiful, and affirm the world even as it’s being taken leave of. And yes, it does have the charm of a dream; but it’s a dream of here-and-now, the here-and-now revealing what it is. That’s one hundred percent materialism: a material, not spiritual, endgame. It’s what poetry at its best gives us: Wallace Stevens, Francis Ponge – the sheer and ecstatic there-ness of existence. By the way, in neither of the passages you quote above does the character die in my opinion – although it’s left ambiguous, open to interpretation.
Kids, that’s just an excerpt!
Extra credit to anyone who can identify the book referenced in that subject line – redeemable for "Condalmo Credits" of no market value.