Shaun Prescott reviews 'Machine Man' by Max Barry

Machine Man 

by Max Barry

Scribe, $27.99 pb, 288 pp, 9781921844263

Machine Man, Max Barry’s fourth novel, begins with its protagonist Charles Neumann searching for his mobile phone. It takes him twelve very funny pages to find it, but when he does it ushers in the novel’s central ‘tragedy’. It is easy to assume that Barry comes bearing a worn theme about modern society’s alarming reliance on technology, but he is no Luddite, and Machine Man’s central tragedy is also the centre of its comedy. Neumann loses a leg, but as a clinically minded, emotionally incapable engineer whose love for hard science and determination to improve knows no bounds, his loss quickly becomes his (and his company’s) gain – before, inevitably, it becomes his loss again.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in October 2011, no. 335
Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is a writer and critic based in Sydney. He co-edits the triennially published Cyclic Defrost magazine and contributes regularly to Mess+Noise and theVine.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.