report no.: 200
source: Remainder (a novel) by Tom McCarthy
There are several. First mention is in Chap Three, when he visits
the stockbroker. 43 ff in Metronome Press edition. Next is Chap
ten, when Matthew the Younger visits him on site (p 110 ff), then
he gets the definition looked up on 112. Then, on 141-2, he transfers
it to dust flakes/stars in space. Then, on 261, he reprises it,
and comes up with his 'money, blood and light' triumvirate. Then,
finally, after the stock markets have crashed but he's gone up in
the air, it lends itself to the final vision of cosmic entropy,
dust flakes in a stairwell and the universe running down, on the
last two pages. In a way, it's the crux of the whole book...
43: ... what really propels your investment upwards is speculation.'
'Speculation?' I repeated. 'What's that?'
110: by the time [the narrator's stockbroker] visited me on
the site [the narrator had purchased for four million pounds]
a few weeks later, my portfolio's had risen back almost to the
level it had been at before he'd sold the shares.
'It's like yoghurt,' I said, 'or a lizard's tail, that grows back
if you yank it off.'
'Speculation!' he said, smiling from ear to ear. [...] 'They're
going stratospheric. This is great, but you must understand that
your level of exposure is enormous.'
'Exposure,' I repeated. 'I like exposure.'
112: 'Could you have the word "speculation" looked
up? I asked Naz [...]
'Of course.' He took his mobile out and tapped in a text message.
The reply came ten minutes later:
'The faculty of seeing,' Naz read; 'observation of the heavens,
stars etc.; contemplation or profound study of a subject; a conjectural
consideration; the practise of buying and selling goods. From
the latin speculari: spy out, watch, and specula: watch tower.
First citation ...'
'Watch tower,' I said; 'heavens: I like that. You could see the
heavens better from a watch tower. But you'd be exposed.'
141: Higher up [the air] had more dust specks in it: these were
bourne upwards by the warm air in the stairwell; when they reached
the top floors they hung around like small stars in massive galaxies,
hardly movin at all, and this made the air seem lighter.
So anyway, I was lying on the floor observing this phenomenon
— speculating, you might say [...]