Britain's first book blogger (November 2000)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

More Remainder

Tom McCarthy talks to Ed Champion about Remainder and repetition in a rich, two part makes-you-feel-stupid-but-inspired-too interview. I was enacting my own repetitive behaviour as I listened: cycling the same 26-mile route which includes what the great Miguel Indurain called "the côte de Ditchling Beacon“, a fourth category climb on the 1994 Tour de France (beat that cycling litbloggers!).

Just after reaching the summit, Tom spoke of how trauma, noted by both Freud and anti-Freudian neuroscientists, "instils a propensity to repeat, to return to the traumatic scene". In my case, however, the obsessive following of the same route seeks merely to erase uniqueness; I want the same non-experience each time. If anything happens along the way, I change the route. But isn't that what the guy in Remainder is doing too? The question reminds me of an aspect of the novel the interview mentions only once and very briefly yet has always bothered me. How does the trauma from the sky at the beginning of the book relate to its end in the aircraft? It's another way of asking how artistic creation relates to its cause. To me, the ending hints of the traumatic remainder in art's unworldliness.

5 comments:

  1. All I can do in a feeble attempt to beat the repeated conquest of the côte de Ditchling Beacon is to mention that I have a book on the most superhuman sportsman of them all somewhere around, ie who else but Eddie Merckx.

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  2. Well, not to show off or anything, but there's a Cat 1 climb here in Malibu that's part of my regular training drill.

    But, to be fair, I haven't climbed it in months.

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  3. Well that certainly beats my climb. But TEV, tell me, which stage of the Tour featured Malibu? :)

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  4. Said but true - though I keep hoping the Tour of California will come through one year ... My one crazy dream is climb Alpe d'Huez before I die. (I might well die there.)

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