Since the publication of his debut, Remainder, Tom McCarthy has established himself as the Christopher Nolan of literary fiction: his novels play with conceptual themes such as time and motion and space. C and Satin Island were both shortlisted for the Booker. His latest, The Making of Incarnation, deals with, among other things, motion-capture technology. Even the title of the science fiction film at the heart of the novel — Incarnation
— has a Nolanesque ring to it.
The story is knotty. As the narrator puts it: ‘Things are connected to other things, which are connected to other things.’ McCarthy fictionalises the life of the engineer and motion-studies pioneer Lillian Gilbreth, who did her key work in the interwar years.