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  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787333307
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

The Making of Incarnation


The most ambitious and exciting book to date by the author of the bestselling and prize-winning novel 'C'

Bodies in motion. Birds, bees and bobsleighs. What is the force that moves the sun and other stars? Where's our fucking airplane? What's inside Box 808, and why does everybody want it?

Deep within the archives of time-and-motion pioneer Lillian Gilbreth lies a secret. Famous for producing solid light-tracks that captured the path of workers' movements, Gilbreth helped birth the era of mass observation and big data. Did she also, as her broken correspondence with a young Soviet physicist suggests, discover in her final days a 'perfect' movement, one that would 'change everything'?

An international hunt begins for the one box missing from her records, and we follow contemporary motion-capture consultant Mark Phocan, as well as his collaborators and shadowy antagonists, across geo-political fault lines and experimental zones: medical labs, CGI studios, military research centres . . . Places where the frontiers of potential - to cure, kill, understand or entertain - are constantly tested and refined.

And all the while, work is underway on the blockbuster film Incarnation, an epic space tragedy. Commercial box-office fodder? Or a sublimely mythical exploration of the animation, contemplation and possession of flesh - ours and others' - traumatised, erotic, beautiful, obscene...

Audacious and mesmeric, The Making of Incarnation weaves a set of stories one inside the other, rings within rings, a perpetual-motion machine. Tom McCarthy peers through the screen, or veil, of technological modernity to reveal the underlying historical and symbolic structures of human experience.

  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787333307
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

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.

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Praise for The Making of Incarnation

In its conceptual magnitude, its sustainedly dazzling prose... The Making of Incarnation feels utterly original, utterly new, utterly magical; a visitor from the future. Tom McCarthy, the most visionary of contemporary writers, is light years ahead of anyone writing anywhere currently.

Neel Mukherjee

Favourite novel of 2015.

John Banville, the Observer - Praise for 'Satin Island'

A Kafka for the Google Age.

Daily Telegraph - Praise for 'Satin Island'

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

Huffington Post - Praise for 'Satin Island'

A typically ambitious mille-feuille of modernity, symbolism and myth.

Katy Guest, Guardian

One of the most brilliantly intellectual novelists of the moment... The Making of Incarnation is like a ghostwritten hybrid of a John le Carré thriller, the post-modern philosophy of Jacques Derrida and a sci-fi romp all at the same time... There is something uplifting about McCarthy's work. He makes you think, and he makes you think things you hadn't thought before.

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

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