Scarlett Thomas Our Tragic Universe

ISBN 13: 9780151013913

Our Tragic Universe

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Can a story save your life?

Meg Carpenter is broke. Her novel is years overdue. Her cell phone is out of minutes. And her moody boyfriend’s only contribution to the household is his sour attitude. So she jumps at the chance to review a pseudoscientific book that promises life everlasting.

But who wants to live forever?

Consulting cosmology and physics, tarot cards, koans (and riddles and jokes), new-age theories of everything, narrative theory, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, and knitting patterns, Meg wends her way through Our Tragic Universe, asking this and many other questions. Does she believe in fairies? In magic? Is she a superbeing? Is she living a storyless story? And what’s the connection between her off-hand suggestion to push a car into a river, a ship in a bottle, a mysterious beast loose on the moor, and the controversial author of The Science of Living Forever?

Smart, entrancing, and boiling over with Thomas’s trademark big ideas, Our Tragic Universe is a book about how relationships are created and destroyed, how we can rewrite our futures (if not our histories), and how stories just might save our lives.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2010: Scarlett Thomas is a nimble writer, joyfully unseating and upholding cozy fiction conventions in Our Tragic Universe as she builds a story around Meg Carpenter, a writer who--as a genre fiction ghostwriter, book reviewer, and writing coach--has immersed herself in every nook and cranny of her craft to keep herself afloat... and to stay at arm's length from the "real" novel she just can't get her head around. The thoughts that consume her in the meantime range widely, touching down on storytelling, magic, coincidence, love, and what it might be like to live forever. (Her wryly observed theory is that it "would be like marrying yourself, with no possibility of a divorce.") In the hands of a less talented writer (and thinker), such a litany could easily devolve into a meandering mess. Not so here: Meg's searching soul is remarkably controlled, making her a protagonist you trust and want to follow, even when--in fact, especially when--you're not entirely sure where she's going. It's always clear that Meg's journey isn't aimless, and you'll be delighted to find--as she does--that the best stories "make someone surprised to see the picture, and even more surprised when they realize they had all the pieces all along." --Anne Bartholomew

From the Back Cover:

Can a story save your life?

"Thomas’s prose is so addictive you can’t help but fall deeper and deeper under her spell." —Douglas Coupland

"Thomas brilliantly reminds us that, despite popular representations, many women are actually staying up half the night talking ideas. One feels alone. And then one reads Our Tragic Universe." – Jincy Willett, author of Winner of the National Book Award

"A delight." —Philip Pullman

 

Meg Carpenter is broke. Her novel is years overdue. So when a book called The Science of Living Forever lands on her desk, she jumps at the chance to review it, starting on a labyrinthine journey that takes her from mysterious beasts of the moor to forest fairies to ships-in-bottles, New Age theories of everything to physics to narrative theory, and forces her to ask: Does anyone really want to live forever?

Our Tragic Universe finds connections where we didn’t know they existed, breaks down conventions that keep us from our destinies, and shows how we just might be able to rewrite our futures.

 

Scarlett Thomas is the author of the critically acclaimed The End of Mr. Y and PopCo.  She was named one of the twenty best young British writers by the Independent on Sunday, one of the Telegraph’s 20 Best Writers Under 40, and Writer of the Year at the 2002 Elle Style Awards.

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Book Description HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, United States, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Can a story save your life? Meg Carpenter is broke. Her novel is years overdue. Her cell phone is out of minutes. And her moody boyfriend s only contribution to the household is his sour attitude. So she jumps at the chance to review a pseudoscientific book that promises life everlasting. But who wants to live forever? Consulting cosmology and physics, tarot cards, koans (and riddles and jokes), new-age theories of everything, narrative theory, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, and knitting patterns, Meg wends her way through Our Tragic Universe, asking this and many other questions. Does she believe in fairies? In magic? Is she a superbeing? Is she living a storyless story? And what s the connection between her off-hand suggestion to push a car into a river, a ship in a bottle, a mysterious beast loose on the moor, and the controversial author of The Science of Living Forever ? Smart, entrancing, and boiling over with Thomas s trademark big ideas, Our Tragic Universe is a book about how relationships are created and destroyed, how we can rewrite our futures (if not our histories), and how stories just might save our lives. Seller Inventory # FLT9780151013913

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