Notes from a Coma (Paperback)
About Notes from a Coma
JJ O’ Malley, adopted from a Romanian orphanage by a single father in the west of Ireland, grows up a permanent outsider, and yet he finds his place in the community. At least until his world is shaken by the death of his best friend, and he volunteers for the “Somnos Project,” an experimental program testing deep coma as a potential option in the EU penal system.
In a prison ship docked in Killary Harbour, JJ is hooked up to monitoring devices that feed out to the Internet, and he and his fellow guinea pigs become global celebrities. A beautifully rendered look at small-town Irish life, and a far-reaching investigation of politics, neuroscience, global communications, and the ethics of incarceration, Notes from a Coma is a major work from one of the world’s bravest and most unusual novelists.
Praise for Notes from a Coma
"A cross between 1984 and The X-Files . . . Notes From a Coma establishes McCormack as one of the most original and important voices in contemporary Irish fiction.”
─Irish Times (original review)
"The greatest Irish novel of the decade."
"McCormack's language is lovely, lyrical . . . his humor is dark, macabre; the words glimmer like a spell."
“The testimony about JJ's life is written with a sad and touching simplicity . . . Intriguing.”
─The Wall Street Journal
“Subtle but haunting storytelling mixes with an insightful examination into the ethics of the penal system to produce an unusual and unforgettable read.”
─Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Notes from a Coma is the finest book yet from one of Ireland's most singular contemporary writers, a daring reinvention of the gothic for the age of machines."
—Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods
“A major talent in Irish fiction . . . McCormack slyly and brilliantly satirizes, among many other things, our fixations with celebrity and high-priced medical technology.”
“Additional events and commentary take place literarily underneath these chapters in long footnotes . . . [They underscore] how unique and noteworthy this unusual novel truly is — and why McCormack undeniably deserves a wider audience on this side of the globe.”
“An intriguing novel that touches on many of the moral and ethical questions of the day. Mike McCormack is one to watch.”
“A great work of literary/psychological fiction...well worth the read.”
─A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
“Are you ready for something mind-bending, something intelligent, introspective, and quintessentially Irish? Five men volunteer to enter a comatose state to test a new idea for incarceration of criminals. The novel makes a subtle statement on today’s politics, spirituality, and even celebrity worship.”
—Mary T. of R.J. Julia Booksellers
"Compelling....A story of politics, psychology, metaphysics, and family that defies easy classification."
Praise for Mike McCormack
"McCormack's obsessions at times converge with those explored by Ian McEwan, Will Self and J. G. Ballard, but his clever ideas and fluid, gracefully morbid style are all his own."
"When venturing into the realm of the macabre, a writer gains a distinct advantage if he has a sense of discipline and a sense of humor ... Mike McCormack has both to spare.... Like parables in their easy transcendence of setting and time, the most audacious stories are classics."
─The New York Times Book Review