Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Review: The end of Mr Y - Scarlett Thomas

The end of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

Pages: 416
Published: 2006
Genre: Contemporary Fiction Mystery sci-fi perhaps

A cursed book. A missing professor. Some nefarious men in gray suits. And a dreamworld called the Troposphere? 

Ariel Manto has a fascination with nineteenth-century scientists—especially Thomas Lumas and The End of Mr. Y, a book no one alive has read. When she mysteriously uncovers a copy at a used bookstore, Ariel is launched into an adventure of science and faith, consciousness and death, space and time, and everything in between. 

Seeking answers, Ariel follows in Mr. Y’s footsteps: She swallows a tincture, stares into a black dot, and is transported into the Troposphere—a wonderland where she can travel through time and space using the thoughts of others. There she begins to understand all the mysteries surrounding the book, herself, and the universe. Or is it all just a hallucination? (Goodreads)

How to start? This was one of the most confusing books I have ever read, it was also one of the best books I have read this year. It was amazing in this crazy madness kind of way. It will be hard to review it because it was messy, great and so strange.

Ariel is a woman fascinated by a lot of things. She writes articles for a paper and then she meets Professor Burlem, and agrees to write her Phd under him. But then he disappears and she is left alone with her studies. One day she finds one of the most rare books in the world, a book that those few who has read it, has died. They say the book is curse. But she can't believe her luck and even though she has really no money and is living on noodles she buys it. And here the story starts, a strange story that will take her back in time, and transport her to a strange world of dreams. What is real and what is not? The more she learns about the character Mr Y, and follow in his footstep, the darker it gets.

This book is filled with physics, she is fascinated with it and she talks about it with the professor, she uses it in her PhD, she talks about it with her friend Wolfgang, with her colleagues, of whom one is an ex Catholic priest named Adam (love interest).

I loved the physics, to read about Schrödingers cat, multiuniverses, quarks, Big Bang. It's not hardcore physics because even she says she needs to know more, it's popular science and it's all truly interested. It makes me want to know more about all these things. I do have a lot of knowledge to thank all the sci-fi I have watched, but you don't need to know it all to keep up. She explains it all very good, and all this physics mixed with some philosophy in a way. It makes a very amazing read.

Among all this physics are some sordid sex scenes, oh yes I did not see those coming, they sure took me by surprise. But thinking about it it makes sense. They display her confused and dark state of mind. She is a relationship with a married man and it takes a darker turn so a few scenes are there in here. It shows the spiral down.

This book gives you a lot to think about, it has some fascinated stuff in it, and the ending. I think the author is an genius for creating this world and these thoughts about it. And it all makes sense too, why could it not be like that.

It's an hard to explain kind of book. It's hard to keep out the spoilers, it's a book that needs to be read to understand. And don't let all that physics scare you, I was unsure and I was sucked into this book because the author is a great storyteller. If she writes all her books like this I will keep an lookout for more. They are worth a try to see if the style is for you.

A recommended read, a book that shows that there can be more between heaven and earth that we could ever imagine. Everything is possible, everything has happened and at the same time not. Read it and find out what really happened.


  1. Sounds like a lot going on, but it does sound interesting.

  2. You've intrigued me. This one is definitely going on my list.

  3. Oh sounds fascinating. I had to add it to the list!

  4. To say this is one of the most confusing but best books... You've made me curious.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  5. Patti,
    Oh yes it was 500 pages packed with discussions and action. What a freaky little book :)

    Do read it, it felt very refreshing and I have a soft spot of strange.

    Do, I just could not put it down. the thoughts kept jumping around

    Lol, what else could i say about this one, yes confusing and superb. Needs to be read to understand

  6. Sounds intriguing and now I have to try this one to get your meaning ;) Great review!

  7. Krista,
    It is really the only way to get an understanding and to see if you like it :)

  8. Krista,
    It is really the only way to get an understanding and to see if you like it :)

  9. I am so glad you warned us about the sordid sex scenes. I like to be prepared before I read books like that. There is nothing worse that blushing whilst you are reading!

  10. "It was amazing in this crazy madness kind of way" - this has me intrigued.
    "Among all this physics are some sordid sex scenes, oh yes I did not see those coming, they sure took me by surprise." - This has me not so sure.
    I have ben wanting to check out this book, though.

  11. I agree very intriguing and definately alot going on...


  12. The cover alone is enough to make me want to pick this one up! Thanks for the heads up.

    Also, if you would like, I am hosting a giveaway on my blog for Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals, if you would like to put it up on your sidebar. Sadly, I don't think you can participate :-(

  13. Oh wow. Very interesting. Very intriguing. Very Crazy!
    Blodeuedd, you know how to pick them honey!!! Great review!
    I hope you had a great Tuesday and have a wonderful Wednesday!

  14. Hi B!

    Great review! Do you think this one is for me? Sure sounds interesting, and I want to know what that last comment meant.

    I'll look around for it. Did you buy at the book store?

    Dottie :)

  15. Vivienne
    Well they were just unexpected but I should know better. Some of the big modern classics have some strange sex scenes in them

    The sex is not that bad actually. It fits the atmosphere, and shows it getting darker and darker. Nothing explicit and just like 3. But it goes well with her state of mind.

    Oh yes so much going on, hard to start. I love freaky books.

  16. Arti,
    The cover made me pick it up too, and the page borders were black so so cool.
    COntest up

    Crazy is the word, lol, yes I do pick all over the place. I love it that way.
    Have a lovely week hon!

    Hi Dottie,
    Hm, hard to tell, with all the physics philosophy it's hard to know. It's just one of those you have to try.

    Would you enjoy a discussion about multiuniverses? There are a lot of discussions through out the storyline.

    Haha yes gotta read to get that last one.

    I got this from the library, perhaps yours will have it too

  17. Oh and I forgot to tell you yesterday that I love your new banner picture!!! I love all of them, but I love this one. You had this one before though right... I remember one you had with them walking to get married. Is this one the same?

  18. Cecile,
    Thanks :) I love finding new ones.
    Now that was one when a couple came out of the church and stood on the steps. Nice that you remember

  19. Sounds really different. Thanks for the great review on it!

  20. Thanks Staci,
    It was such a good book, weird is good



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