> Skip to content
  • Published: 12 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9781446444085
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

Satin Island

A novel for our times, from 'a master craftsman who is steering the contemporary novel towards exciting new territories' (Observer)

U. is a 'corporate anthropologist' who, while working on a giant, epoch-defining project no one really understands, is also tasked with writing the Great Report on our society. But instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer-zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions.

Is there a secret logic holding all these images together? Once cracked, will it unlock the master-meaning of our era? Might it have something to do with the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.

  • Published: 12 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9781446444085
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

About the author

Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy is the author of Tintin and the Secret of Literature and three internationally celebrated novels: Remainder, Men in Space and, most recently, C, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham-Campbell Literature Prize by Yale University. His creation, in 1999, of the International Necronautical Society has led to installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world, from Tate Britain and the ICA in London to The Drawing Center in New York.

Also by Tom McCarthy

See all

Praise for Satin Island

Smart, shimmering and thought-provoking.McCarthy isn't a frustrated cultural theorist who must content himself with writing novels; he's a born novelist, a pretty fantastic one, who has figured out a way to make cultural theory funny, scary and suspenseful - in other words, compulsively readable.

New York Times

Should you read the new Tom McCarthy book? (A: Yes. Always yes.)

Huffington Post

Dazzling and elusive. a magisterial ethnographic portrait of our overstimulated, interconnected, simulacra-addicted times.


Confusing, clever and about to be massive.


The kind of strange and ambitious fiction that you feared might have died with J. G. Ballard. ...Provokes and beguiles and, at the point of revelation, it withholds. On finishing it you will have the powerful urge to throw it across the room, then the powerful urge to pick it up to read again. And that's what's so brilliant.

Duncan White, 5 stars, Daily Telegraph

For page-turning ideas, it's a must.


Nails the modern condition of information overload

Anthony Cummins, 4 stars, Metro

Satin Island is an undeniably dazzling piece of writing, a perfect tight circle of interlocking motifs, mini-treatises and allusions.

Theo Tait, Sunday

A Kafka for the Google Age.

Daily Telegraph

Gripping... an elegant and eerie tale.


McCarthy's crisp, clean prose is stimulating, his concepts original and his visual imagery powerful.

Leyla Sanai, Independent on Sunday

[An] entertaining slice of experimental fiction.

Sunday Express

Booker-nominated author Tom McCarthy's latest offering is lean, smart and infuriating.

Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express

McCarthy's writing is cool and elegant, descriptive, yet informal and conversational.

Curious Animal Magazine

An intellectually challenging and highly engaging work of art.

JP O'Malley, Washington Post

It is dead-clever, very funny, insanely ambitious, sometimes insane, essentially brilliant and commendably engaged with the way we're living our lives right now.

Stuart Hammond, Dazed Digital

Reading a McCarthy novel is like being in a McCarthy novel: everything is part of a fizzing network, the scope of which can never be fully apprehended.

Duncan White, Telegraph

Without beginning, middle, end - and especially lacking centre! - the novel comes to a halt, leaving the reader in a gorgeous daze of symbol and cypher, whose meaning is so clear, and yet tantalizingly opaque.

Aisling O'Gara, Totally Dublin

Satin Island is clever, vogue, slick and sleek.

Tamim Sadikali, Book Munch

Packed with intriguing and intellectual ideas. refreshingly thought-provoking.

Good Book Guide

Slender, foxily postmodern.

Sam Leith, Radio Times

The bleeding edge of science fiction is Satin Island.


In Satin Island the narrator, U, takes us on a journey through the modern world of ideas, theories and references. It's a wonderfully intense experience - as soon as I'd finished I wanted to read it again.

Edith Bowman, Radio Times

Convincing proof that the best writers of our time are anthropologists.

Anna Aslanyan, The Spectator

Convincing proof that the best writers of our time are anthropologists.

A S Byatt, The Spectator

Favourite novel of 2015.

John Banville, Observer

A darkly funny and disturbing meditation on the intricacies and insubstantiality of our technology-ridden times. McCarthy is one of the most daring, most ambitious and most subtle of what at my age I can all the younger generation of writers.

John Banville, Irish Times

The novel often reads like a dramatic monologue, a very modern stream of consciousness, akin to Joyce's Finnegans Wake. McCarthy's novel is innovative, well crafted and challenging. This novel is breaking new ground, a breath of fresh air, at times a tour de force.

Vincent Hanley, Irish Times

McCarthy has put his finger on something, and he's nailed it very precisely. It's how we live now. All the information we process every day. What it's doing to us.

William Leith, Evening Standard

Related titles