WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home · Articles · Arts & Culture · Lit · Scarlett Thomas -- The End of Mr. Y (Harvest Books)

Scarlett Thomas -- The End of Mr. Y (Harvest Books)

By Laura James · January 3rd, 2007 · Lit
0 Comments
     
Tags:
  Scarlett Thomas --The End of Mr. Y
Scarlett Thomas --The End of Mr. Y



Scarlett Thomas manages to transform a philosophical treatise into a novel, and a good novel at that. It begins with a young English woman, Ariel, on a half-assed quest for the answer to everything -- to a world, finally, "without mystery." Ariel's outlet is a small column in a small newspaper whose editors allow her to follow her train of thought, or train of study, from one topic to the next.

Ariel gets sidetracked by her seriously damaging bad taste in men, a chance encounter with a literature professor, a priest, a collapsed building, atoms, Derrida, simulacra and, of course, a cursed novel, written in 1890, The End of Mr. Y. The novel might in fact be cursed -- all those who have read it have either gone missing or died -- but Ariel wants to eliminate mystery. She finds the book in a second-hand bookshop and buys it with her last 50 pounds. She reads it and winds up traveling into the fourth dimension -- a place that seems a play on Aristotle's argument that everything in our world is a copy of its perfect form that exists on a plane separate from our own. And though there is a promise that you cannot die in this dimension, you can die in the physical world. Surely, then, you can see how Thomas' book slips into a chase-scene mystery novel, with guns and fake CIA agents. The End of Mr. Y has almost too much: It carries with it the power of two ingenious novels, more philosophy of language, religion and science than most of us care to deal with. And yet the novel is intensely readable and even fun. Grade: A

 
 
 
 

 

comments powered by Disqus
 
Close
Close
Close