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Tom McCarthy: C is not historical fiction

6th August 2010

Tom McCarthy does not consider his Man Booker Prize 2010 longlisted novel C to be historical fiction.

In an interview with the New Statesman, the author claimed that the book is not a historical novel as, even though it is set in Edwardian-era Europe, it deals with timeless themes and is not merely a study of that particular point in time.

He continued: 'I'm more interested in something that's at the same time very contemporary and very ancient, which is the relationship between language and technology and the human subject.'

McCarthy admitted that he took a certain amount of inspiration from the avant-garde movement when writing C, but suggested that too many modern novels are given the avant-garde label if they are different from typical 'middlebrow' fiction.

The author also told the magazine that he believes British writing 'just peters out' after greats such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Daniel Defoe and Charles Dickens - but disclosed that he considers J.G. Ballard to be a 'genius'.

In being included on this year's Man Booker longlist, C is competing against works including Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal.
 

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