3. One man and his dog

Tintin and the Secret of LiteratureThis week’s podcast features Tom McCarthy, author of Tintin and the Secret of Literature. Tom has recently come to prominence as a novelist and his book, Remainder, has been acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. But in Tintin and the Secret of Literature he shows he also possesses a sharp (and playful) critical mind into the bargain.

Tom’s starting point is to ask whether the hugely successful Tintin cartoons are also great literature, and in attempting to answer that question he gets to the heart of what literature actually is. Along the way he also examines a few skeletons in Hergé’s closet. But the book is above all an immensely entertaining exploration of the Tintin books, which will make you want to read them all again.

“With a code-breaking ingenuity worthy of the boy reporter himself, McCarthy reveals Hergé’s crisp, graphic style to be a complex circuitry of forgery and artifice, corporeal obsession and psycho-sexual intrigue; sparking leads and crackling connections that wire the Belgian cartoonist’s work deep into the matrix of 20th-century art and philosophy.”

Dan Fox, Frieze Magazine

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