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Ringing the death knell for the humanist novel whilst enjoying nibbles

On Monday night I stared at a bald scalp for an hour. The event was a sell out—about 50 people, primarily bespectacled, cardigan-wearing males in their 20s, packed into the London Review Bookshop to hear Tom McCarthy talk about his new novel, C—currently 2-1 favourite to win this year’s Booker prize. Having failed to arrive sufficiently early, my restricted view was unavoidable.

As I sat there, cursing the seating arrangement, staring at the aforementioned scalp, occasionally leaning into the…

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