The End of Mr. Y

The End of Mr. Y

by Scarlett Thomas

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156031615
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/02/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 316,225
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.02(d)
Lexile: 810L (what's this?)

About the Author

SCARLETT THOMAS is the author of PopCo and The End of Mr. Y. She has been nominated for the Orange Prize and named Writer of the Year by Elle UK, one of the twenty best young writers by the Independent, and one of the Telegraph’s 20 best writers under 40.

Read an Excerpt

The End of Mr. Y


By Thomas, Scarlett

Harvest Books

Copyright © 2006 Thomas, Scarlett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0156031612

Chapter One
You now have one choice.
You . . . I'm hanging out of the window of my office, sneaking a cigarette and trying to read Margins in the dull winter light, when there's a noise I haven't heard before. All right, the noise--crash, bang, etc--I probably have heard before, but it's coming from underneath me, which isn't right. There shouldn't be anything underneath me: I'm on the bottom floor. But the ground shakes, as if something's trying to push up from below, and I think about other people's mothers shaking out their duvets or even God shaking out the fabric of space-time; then I think, Fucking hell, it's an earthquake, and I drop my cigarette and run out of my office at roughly the same time that the alarm starts sounding.
When alarms sound I don't always run immediately. Who does? Usually an alarm is just an empty sign: a drill; a practice. As I'm on my way to the side door out of the building the shaking stops. Shall I go back to my office? But it's impossible to stay in this building when this alarm goes off. It's too loud; it wails inside your head. As I leave the building I walk past the Health and Safety notice board, which has pictures of injured people on it. The pictures blur as I go past: A man who has back pain is also having a heart attack, and various hologrampeople are trying to revive him. I was supposed to go to some Health and Safety training last year, but didn't.
As I open the side door I can see people leaving the Russell Building and walking, or running, past our block and up the gray concrete steps in the direction of the Newton Building and the library. I cut around the right-hand side of the building and bound up the concrete steps, two at a time. The sky is gray, with a thin TV-static drizzle that hangs in the air like it's been freeze-framed. Sometimes, on these January afternoons, the sun squats low in the sky like an orange-robed Buddha in a documentary about the meaning of life. Today there is no sun. I come to the edge of the large crowd that has formed, and I stop running. Everyone is looking at the same thing, gasping and making firework-display noises.
It's the Newton Building.
It's falling down.
I think of this toy--have I seen it on someone's desk recently?--which is a little horse mounted on a wooden button. When you press the button from underneath, the horse collapses to its knees. That's what the Newton Building looks like now. It's sinking into the ground, but in a lopsided way; one corner is now gone, now two, now . . . Now it stops. It creaks, and it stops. A window on the third floor flaps open, and a computer monitor falls out and smashes onto what's left of the concrete courtyard below. Four men with hard hats and fluorescent jackets slowly approach the broken-up courtyard; then another man comes, says something to them, and they all move away again.
Two men in gray suits are standing next to me.
"Déjà vu," one of them says to the other.
I look around for someone I know. There's Mary Robinson, the head of department, talking to Lisa Hobbes. I can't see many other people from the English Department. But I can see Max Truman standing on his own, smoking a roll-up. He'll know what's going on.
"Hello, Ariel," he mumbles when I walk over and stand next to him.
Max always mumbles; not in a shy way, but rather as if he's telling you what it will cost to take out your worst enemy, or how much you'd have to pay to rig a horse race. Does he like me? I don't think he trusts me. But why would he? I'm comparatively young, relatively new to the department, and I probably seem ambitious, even though I'm not. I also have long red hair and people say I look intimidating (because of the hair? Something else?). People who don't say I look intimidating sometimes say I look "dodgy," or "odd." One of my ex-housemates said he wouldn't like to be stuck on a desert island with me but didn't say why.
"Hi, Max," I say. Then: "Wow."
"You probably don't know about the tunnel, do you?" he says. I shake my head. "There's a railway tunnel that runs under here," he says, pointing downwards with his eyes. He sucks on his roll-up, but nothing seems to happen, so he takes it out of his mouth and uses it to point around the campus. "It runs under Russell over there, and Newton, over there. Goes--or used to go--from the town to the coast. It hasn't been used in a hundred years or so. This is the second time it's collapsed and taken Newton with it. They were supposed to fill it with concrete after last time," he adds.
I look at where Max just pointed, and start mentally drawing straight lines connecting Newton with Russell, imagining the tunnel underneath the line. Whichever way you do it, the English and American Studies Building is on the line, too.
"Everyone's all right, at least," he says. "Maintenance saw a crack in the wall this morning and evacuated them all."
Lisa shivers. "I can't believe this is happening," she says, looking over at the Newton Building. The gray sky has darkened and the rain is now falling more heavily. The Newton Building looks strange with no lights on: It's as if it has been stubbed out.
"I can't either," I say.
For the next three or four minutes we all stand and stare in silence at the building; then a man with a megaphone comes around and tells us all to go home immediately without going back to our offices. I feel like crying. There's something so sad about broken concrete.

I don't know about everyone else, but it's not that easy for me just to go home. I only have one set of keys to my flat, and that set is in my office, along with my coat, my scarf, my gloves, my hat, and my rucksack. There's a security guard trying to stop people going in through the main entrance, so I go down the steps and in the side way. My name isn't on my office door. Instead, it bears only the name of the official occupier of the room: my supervisor, Professor Saul Burlem. I met Burlem twice before I came here: once at a conference in Greenwich, and once at my interview. He disappeared just over a week after I arrived. I remember coming into the office on a Thursday morning and noticing that it was different. The first thing was that the blinds and the curtains were closed: Burlem always closed his blinds at the end of every day, but neither of us ever touched the horrible thin gray curtains. And the room smelled of cigarette smoke. I was expecting him in at about ten o'clock that morning, but he didn't show up. By the following Monday I asked people where he was and they said they didn't know. At some point someone arranged for his classes to be covered. I don't know if there's departmental gossip about this--no one gossips to me--but everyone seems to assume I'll just carry on my research and it's no big deal for me that he isn't around. Of course, he's the reason I came to the department at all: He's the only person in the world who has done serious research on one of my main subjects: the nineteenth-century writer Thomas E. Lumas. Without Burlem, I'm not really sure why I am here. And I do feel something about him being missing; not loss, exactly, but something.

My car is in the Newton car park. When I get there I am not at all surprised to find several men in hard hats telling people to forget about their cars and walk or take the bus home. I do try to argue-- I say I'm happy to take the risk that the Newton Building will not suddenly go into a slow-motion cinematic rewind in order that it can fall down again in a completely different direction-- but the men pretty much tell me to piss off and walk home or take the bus like everybody else, so I eventually drift off in the direction of the bus stop. It's only the beginning of January, but some daffodils and snowdrops have made it through the earth and stand wetly in little rows by the path. The bus stop is depressing: There's a line of people looking as cold and fragile as the line of flowers, so I decide I'll just walk.

Copyright © 2006 by Scarlett Thomas
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online
at harcourt.com/ contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Continues...

Excerpted from The End of Mr. Y by Thomas, Scarlett Copyright © 2006 by Thomas, Scarlett. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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End of Mr. Y 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
madmahli More than 1 year ago
All in all, I had no idea what to expect from this book. From start to finish it was a complete mind-blower. The main female protagonist was pretty well developed with an almost Indiana-Jones persona. She goes off on a mission to fully understand this particular book and mystery surrounding it. Abandoning her mundane apt for the expanses of the mind-space is absolutely phenomenal. Her interactions with the characters in real life and in this "mind-space" are both thrilling and confusing. A full on, in-depth look at the physics of mind reading and mind travel was both introspective and mind-expanding lol. Highly recommended, one I couldn't put down and didn't want to! Good for a rainy afternoon or just week long intermittent reading :)
Moniica on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Synopsis: When Ariel Manto finds a book called "The End of Mr. Y" in a second-hand shop, she can hardly believe her luck. There is only one known copy in the whole world, locked away in a German bank vault as the book is considered cursed; every person who was associated with the publishing of the book died soon after. So is she really lucky after all?My Opinion: An original plot that really makes you think and consider how the world really works.
MayaP on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I¿m writing a novel about the paranormal and quantum physics so, when I read the blurb for this book via an unrelated Amazon search, I freaked a little, I had to read it.When it quickly became apparent that this book was nothing like my own story , I was able to stop panicking and settle down and ¿ I enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if there¿d been more about the two worlds, the real and the quantum, both of which had more potential that we got.It gets a little wordy and so self-consciously Clever ¿ far too many lengthy passages when Ariel is telling you about this or that amazing thing - I would have preferred to have the science put into some context that made it more accessible and a part of the whole rather than be told it all for paragraph after paragraph.The characters were too sketchy. The only one with any real depth is Ariel who I disliked from start to finish which didn¿t help. I would have liked to see a lot more about Adam; who was he, really? I was expecting something unusual and clever but he was just this guy, you know¿So, an interesting idea that suffered a little in the execution and an overall lack of warmth and humanity. I would have got much more out of the truly exciting story if there¿d been more flesh on the bones.
soybean-soybean on LibraryThing 10 months ago
it was okay. bit long though, in a way that was too winding to capture my attention for long. i liked the cover art and how the edge of the pages were blackened.
Hipstermama on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Excellent book! Could't put it down
johnthefireman on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Surreal but fascinating. It´s fiction, not philosophy, but it manages to weave in philosophy, religion, quantum physics, relativity, thought experiments, literature, alternative universes, the big bang and much more. Mostly it´s quite fast-paced and engrossing.The hints of dark sex in the story are intriguing, giving insights into the main character and a touch of gritty reality without having to go into too much sordid detail.I find the ending rather weak. This is perhaps partly inherent in the story itself - it´s quite difficult to imagine what the ending could have been without some sort of anticlimax. It´s also a problem with any story which is very effectively narrated in the first person but which reaches an ending which apparently precludes the narrator from ever getting the story to the reader. There is an epilogue, which is often used to do this, but in this case wasn´t.But all in all, a very good read.
Kiwiria on LibraryThing 10 months ago
You know how you sometimes have one idea of what a book's going to be like, and then you start reading it, and it turns out to be totally different? Yeah, that was me and this book. Not that that was a bad thing at all, it just took me completely by surprise. I had expected a fun fantasy - not an almost scientific account of though experiments.In writing style (not genre or plot, just style) it reminded me a lot of Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder - a fictional story interspersed with a lot of non-fictional details. I was very grateful for my scientific education while reading it, as I fear a lot of the explanations would have gone over my head otherwise. As it was, it was absolutely fascinating, and the paradoxes in the book (which always seem to come about when time-travel is involved) were enough to make my head hurt.Excellent book. I highly recommend it.
Grayl on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Although clumsy at the start and in places where the author brings together characters for a philosophical discussion I found this an highly original book. I congratulate the author in making strong statements in a novel that is still highly readable. In fact any novel that discusses Derrida and the French school of Deconstructionists deserves to be read!
unlikelyaristotle on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I absolutely adore this book! First and foremost I HEART the cover with the black-edged pages. I know it's childish, but I first picked up the book because I found the cover really interesting (yes I'm a slave to good marketing, sue me). But I'm so glad I did. First of all, the book was incredibly cleverly written. The story is about a woman attempting to complete her PhD on an obscure 19th century English writer who she is fascinated with. Meanwhile, her supervisor suddenly disappears, adding to the mystery around her subject matter. A legend surrounds her author that anyone who attempts to read his book, titled 'The End of Mr. Y' will disappear, and it was thought that there was only one copy of it in existence. Events in her otherwise uneventful life become curiouser and curiouser, forcing our heroine out of her otherwise monotonous life and causing her to ask questions that will at best give the reader a new outlook on life, and at worst turn them into a crowd of conspiracy theorists. I believe that this book is a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Angels & Demons, a fantastic literary mystery, truly one of a kind. I can't wait to start her latest book, [Pop Co.], which I already have waiting for me in my apartment when I get back to college!
LisaMorr on LibraryThing 10 months ago
It grabbed me right off the bat - a beautiful red, orange, yellow cover with big concentric circles on a nice-sized book with pages edged in black!Then, I opened the book to find quotes by Baudrillard, Heidegger and Samuel Butler. Hmmm, I'm thinking. And then the first sentence: You now have one choice.So, this book was mind-blowing and has me thinking about reading both philosophy and physics, Heidegger and Einstein. A book has to be extra special for me to actually be hungry for those subjects. It left me wanting more and it is still resonating with me, 2 weeks after I finished it.What's it about - that's the hard part. It's about mind experiments, the CIA, rare books, time travel. There's mystery, adventure, sex and sadness. It's a great book.
SimoneA on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I enjoyed this book which has touches of many genres: fantasy, time travel, romance, chick-lit, mystery, thriller, philosophy etc. I have to say that of these genres, there could have been a bit less philosophy, as those bits tended to drag on a bit. But overall this book is a great read, with interesting ideas and characters.
irkthepurist on LibraryThing 10 months ago
staggeringly good stuff. it works as a narrative, as a commentary, as a brief introduction to masses of philosophical and scientific ideas and as simply brilliant prose writing. some may find the leaps of genre and ideas a bit much, but i feel if you don't worry too much about the logistics of it all and just go with the barmy flow of ceasless invention then... you'll be fine. great stuff
phoebesmum on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This really should have been a good book. A young PhD student finds what may be the only copy in the world of a supposedly cursed book which holds the key to another dimension through which you can piggyback on the minds of others. How can you go wrong with a concept like that? Incredibly, by making it boring. The Troposphere is a world completely without magic, duller than a wet weekend in Bognor, while the characters are lifeless and, for the most part, unpleasant. A real disappointment.
catherinestead on LibraryThing 10 months ago
PhD student Ariel Manto finds a copy of a supposedly cursed book by an eccentric Victorian scientist which leads her into an exploration of time travel and metaphysics.This story veers between intriguing, bizarre and just plain dull. Some parts are very well written, and the whole thing is exceedingly clever. Ariel is a strong and well-constructed character, but she's also irritating and damaged. While I can see why the author chose first person present tense for the narrative, and I concur with that decision, Ariel's inner monologue doesn't always serve the story well.There were a number of passages which struck me as crude for the sake of being crude, as though the author were trying to be shocking and edgy because that's how good literature is supposed to be. Well, it isn't. Good literature can be crude and shocking, but it doesn't have to be - and this isn't either truly shocking or good literature.Some of the philosophical stuff is very interesting, and some of it is just plain dull - tacked on, because as well as being shocking good literature needs to have metaphysical discourse. The escaping-the-bad-guys subplot appears and disappears from the story; sometimes it's strong and interesting, sometimes it's repetitive, and ultimately it just peters out into nothing and you rather wonder what the point of it was.All in all, a mixed bag of good and dull bits, and could probably have been improved by cutting out about a hundred pages.
nicx27 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a very odd book, but strangely enjoyable. Ariel is a PhD student with hardly any money to live on, and consequently hardly eats. She uses only one room in her flat, the kitchen, in which she has placed her settee. She turns up all the gas rings just to stay warm.She¿s working on a study of Thomas Lumas, a Victorian novelist who has written a book called The End of Mr Y. This book is extremely rare but, by a series of strange coincidences, Ariel comes across a copy in a secondhand bookshop and purchases it using most of her remaining money.The book contains a recipe for a drink which, when she consumes it, sends Ariel into the Troposphere, a place where she has access to other people¿s thoughts and memories. Unfortunately, everybody who has ever drunk the potion and been to the Troposphere ends up either dead or having disappeared.This all sounds bizarre enough, but life in the Troposphere gets even stranger. There¿s a lot of science/quantum physics/philosophy in the book and, by and large, it¿s not necessary to understand the vast majority of it to understand what¿s happening in the story. Sometimes it does feel like the author is just trying to impress with all her knowledge, and I think she could probably have made it a bit easier for the lay reader.Ariel has a fairly low opinion of herself and lets herself be used sexually, both within the story, and from what is alluded to in her past. Her language is also pretty coarse, but these aspects only serve to reinforce Ariel¿s feelings about herself, and why she does some of the things she does.I am really not a fan of sci-fi/fantasy fiction, but this book does have a root in reality. It¿s such an intriguing tale, but one which is hard to review or categorise in any way. All I can say is that I raced through it and enjoyed reading it, although I¿m not sure how much of it is really memorable for me.All in all, a book that I am glad I have read, and I'm amazed I liked it, but I'm aware that I probably missed a lot of the detail because I just didn't understand it all. I do feel like I want to talk about it a lot, and I would imagine it would be a great face to face book group read for that reason.
flissp on LibraryThing 10 months ago
"The End of Mr Y" is a book shrouded in mystery. Written by Thomas Lumas (the subject of Ariel Manto's PhD) who died not long after it's publication, the book has a reputation for being cursed and it is thought that no copies survive. So Ariel can't believe her eyes when she discovers a copy in a £50 box of books at a second hand book shop. Even though it uses up nearly all of the rest of her grant for the month, she has to buy it. The story centres around Mr Y's dicovery of the "Troposphere" a place from which you can enter other people's minds. But a page is missing. Soon Ariel finds her life spiralling out of control.If I say that I wanted to enjoy this more than I did, it sounds as though I didn't like it, which is truly not the case. Definitely a page turner with some very original ideas from all over the place. Nonetheless, I frequently found the characters difficult to believe in and some aspects of the story just a little clunky - including the ending. I know that a lot of people have found this book thought provoking, but I'm afraid I didn't particularly - or no more than any other anyway. It was, however, a very entertaining holiday read.
AlexDraven on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was drawn to 'The End of Mr Y' by the back cover blurb, which promises 'a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death, and time-travel', and I wasn't disappointed. In addition to the ripping yarn, though, I also got some fabulously rich characters, and a good dose of philosophy. The first part of the book established Ariel's ordinary life - ordinary in the extreme, a little bleak around the edges - and when she falls down the rabbit hole, the idiosyncratic, observational style continues, forcing the reader to experience some of Ariel's sense of disorientation. First person is often tricky, but is used here to excellent effect, drawing us into the internal world of graduate student Ariel Manto, first as she faces an unexpectedly difficult day on campus, and then as her worldview is permanently altered as a result reading a rare - allegedly cursed - novel by the Victorian scientist who is the subject of her research. With its romance-in-the-literature-department credentials, it's a little like A.S. Byatt's Possession, if it had taken a step to the side and entered the Matrix, and would probably appeal to steampunk and speculative fiction readers, and anyone who has ever studied literary criticism, philosophy, or taken an interest in theoretical sciences. It also provides an interesting introduction to the theories that it's characters try and use to understand and manipulate the world they discover through the cursed book. However, it is more than a novel of ideas - it's both a thought experiment, and a real story, populated with characters who, even if they're only on the page for short periods, have an emotional resonance. The reader can believe continue to exist when they're 'off screen', and they all have their own motivations for their actions, beyond just helping Ariel and the plot along. Ariel's depressed upstairs neighbour, and her supervisor, on the run from the ideas he unearthed, are just as convincingly drawn as Apollo Smintheus, god of mice, and the more threatening denizens of the alternate-world she discovers. The sense of confusion and threat is genuine, and as a result the action plot is engaging, and meshes well with the emotional, character led elements of the book. A very enjoyable read, although it needs reading
theforestofbooks on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a very complex read with more layers than an Arctic explorer. Some of the concepts went wafting over my head and at times I struggled to keep up but hopefully I¿m not alone in this...? Despite the deep concepts, I still really enjoyed it. The author has a very readable writing style which even though I was confused at times, made it easy to persevere. I¿ll certainly read more by this author - will just have to keep taking the smart pills.
deadmanjones on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A potion described in a rare book allows Ariel Manto to travel between people's minds in a fast paced, thought provoking read that's peppered with poetic wit. Frequently though Ariel's tasks seem like lacklustre quests in the early chapters of a colourful RPG, and Scarlett is not quite as capable of blending narrative and speculative or scientific discourse as say Pynchon or Coupland.
soliloquies on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is my first Scarlett Thomas book and I found it to be engaging and well-written. The End of Mr Y is the story of Ariel Manto and her search for the cursed book of Thomas Lumas. There are a lot of big subjects to contend with ¿ from philosophy and advanced science, but you don¿t have to understand everything to move on with the narrative ¿ certainly my knowledge of quantum physics is poor, but I was able to understand everything. I like the inclusion of Lumas¿ ¿The End of Mr Y¿ within the story, as it helped to highlight how one man¿s obsession can ruin lives. I struggled to empathise with Ariel, even though she¿d obviously had a troubled up-bringing ¿ her back story seemed clinical, but perhaps the author was attempting to show how Ariel had compartmentalised her life. I didn¿t enjoy the ending ¿ it didn¿t seem to work. Overall, a great book to read and make you think.
SkyRider on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A definite "curate's egg" this - "The End of Mr Y" aims to combine a story with a commentary on science and metaphysics. The story works well - it's rather eclectic, but it starts off well told and fairly compulsive. You feel a bit let down at the end though when the implied climax fails to materialise.At the same time the poor science, cod philosophy and such grated and detracted from what would otherwise be an extremely readable book. One gets the impression that Ms. Thomas did a great deal of research for this book, wants to make sure her readers know that she did but she fails to really understand the concepts that she's read up on. For me, this really jarred as what seemed to be an attempt to ground the story in some real science actually had the adverse effect of making things seem too unreal (which is something of an achievement for a book set in a 'dreamworld'!).Friends who've read it seem polarised and either class this as a good read or a bad read. I'd have to conclude that it's somewhere in the middle; good storytelling flawed by poor execution.
riverwillow on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is an amazing book which manages to encompass quantum theory, homeopathy, Derrida, Hedigger, Samuel Butler and quite an interesting mystery within its 500 odd pages. As a result its really hard to sum this book up, except to say that this is a book that probably needs to be read several times.
devenish on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a bit like the classic 'Punch' cartoon.,'The Curate's Egg' "BISHOP - I'm afraid you've got a bad egg,Mr Jones". CURATE - "Oh,no my lord,I assure you! Parts of it are excellent !"It begins well,with the central character discovering in an obscure little bookshop,a rare,indeed almost unique book - "The End of Mr.Y" in fact. This she buys for a very low price. The crux of the matter is that with the help of this book she is able to time and indeed mind travel through the Troposphere. She had some weird and wonderful adventures on the way,not least in meeting and being helped by Apollo Smintheus (a mouse-god) and taking a journey on a somewhat unusual train.Now this is fine and I like the premise.It is worth 5 stars of anybody's money. However I must deduct marks as follows. A minus of one star for tacky sex scenes and a minus of one star for pages and pages (which I found myself skipping) of scientific explanations which were totally uninteresting. Could I am sure do much better than this.So 'A Curates Egg' sort of book.
RoboSchro on LibraryThing 10 months ago
"And then, in an instant that feels thinner and sharper than the edge of a razor, I'm falling. I'm falling into a black tunnel, the same black tunnel that Mr. Y described in the book.""The End of Mr. Y" is a book within this book, a supposedly cursed novel by an obscure writer. Graduate student Ariel Manto, whose thesis is about this writer, stumbles upon the lost work in a used book shop. Its titular character discovers how to enter a sort of mental universe, wherein he can experience the inner lives of others. This revelatory, dangerous journey is clearly described in the book, and the author spells out how the reader can do the same. Except that somebody has torn out the page with the instructions.Will Ariel find the hidden recipe? Will she try to replicate the experience for herself? Will it work? Will she then be exposed to further dangers? Does it all have anything to do with the strange death of "Mr. Y"'s author, and the disappearance of her faculty advisor? Well, of course.So far, so predictable. An interesting enough adventure, with some pleasantly moody writing, fairly two-dimensional characters, and a smattering of student philosophising. That could have been that.But Thomas' handling of the mental world that Ariel discovers the key to -- referred to as the "Troposphere" -- elevates this book above the ordinary. To convey what a mental landscape might be like, and show a character learning about it and journeying through it, without losing or confusing the reader, is some achievement. Plenty of authors fail at this, and plenty of strange worlds are left feeling somehow arbitrary. Not this one. It makes sense, and I'm impressed.
murraymint11 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I found this an entertaining, inventive, but also somewhat confusing read; it certainly stretched my brain cells. I found it literally a 'mind-blowing' experience, sometimes to such an extent that I wasn't really following the explanations, and had to skip the philosophical paragraphs before getting back to the plot. Perhaps a bit too concept-driven for my liking.I enjoyed the fact that the story was set in places I am particularly familiar with (a British university campus, Hitchin, Torquay), and liked the contrast with these places and the Troposphere environment.I think I understand the ending - am I right in thinking it is connected to Ariel's true name, beginning with E?