Tintin’s secrets.

There’s a secret written into the book’s very title. McCarthy is
telling us less about, say, what literature is than what it isn’t. We
come to a novel expecting it to tell us everything that it can, to be
replete. McCarthy lifts the rug to show us that the more a story tells
us, the more it hides. Channeling Barthes, McCarthy characterizes
Tintin — whose exploits so often involve misread missives,
misunderstood map coordinates, misconstruction of another character’s
language — as standing “guardian . . . at the heart of a noise.” In all
his adventures around the globe, Tintin is constantly trying to decode
clues he’s been given, constantly finding himself mired in perils, from
which he inevitably escapes, only to compulsively reboot the fiendish
cycle again and again. All his labors turn out to be frustratingly like
those of Sisyphus — unending. Whenever he figures out a particular
enigma, it only unleashes more enigmas, sending him off on yet another
quest. For McCarthy, as for Barthes, this is the “secret” of literature.

(Whole review here.)


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