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This was the kind of book I was perfectly fine with while I was actually reading it, but had no desire to pick up again once I had laid it down between sessions. There are no chapters.

The protagonist is a writer in her late 30s who churns out books in a crappy science fiction series as a way of avoiding writing her “real” novel. Along the way, she muses on the end of the universe, the existence of magic, the possibility of leaving her boyfriend for a much-older man, and writing theory. No, seriously. This is the book. She walks her dog. She reads a book. She talks to her friends. She thinks about the end of the universe. Sometimes she remembers things that happened to her when she was a child.

I dunno. It felt like Thomas just started writing with no particular goal in mind, and kept going until she felt she’d reached a decent stopping point. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, I suppose, and I’m not even sure that wasn’t her intended effect. Her narrative voice is likable and the discussions of magic, physics, etc., along the way are interesting. If I didn’t have so many other books I want to get to right now, I might not have minded carrying this around and whipping it out in waiting rooms, or on the train. I’d recommend this book for one of those weird in-between times when you can’t think of what to read next.

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2 thoughts on “Our Tragic Universe, by Scarlett Thomas

  1. Oh, yeah? It's good to get a rec, because if I were going just on this book, I don't think I'd pick up anything of hers again. After reading this on amazon:"novel incorporating time travel, Derrida, and the dangers of sadistic trysts," I may put "Mr. Y" on my list.

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