Scarlett Thomas is one of my absolute favourite writers. The End Of Mr Y, one of her earlier books, sits up there in my top 10 reads list.
Our Tragic Universe is her latest offering and, true to Thomas, is not a simple read! It is so much more than a ‘story’ with Thomas who is probably one of the deepest thinking, most well read ladies on the planet challenging the reader like never before.
Not content with just throwing us into a story and letting us get on with it, Thomas forces our brains into action by dealing with big issues such as the relativity of time, the meaning of the universe, advanced science and its real world applications, tarot cards, riddles, new-age thinking versus age-old concepts, literature and reality, life, death, and the after-life, knitting patterns, and truth versus illusion. To name just a few. Struth!
This is not a plot-free book, but the story is more causal than most would like. There is so much dialogue that skews off into deep thinking tangents that returning to the plot often becomes a mere distraction. Buried deep in amongst the quirky characters and advanced thinking is a simple love story about a young writer and her dog.
If you are looking for some enjoyable, gripping, good old-fashioned escapism then this one is absolutely not for you. At times, in truth, Our Tragic Universe is something of an ordeal. When you set out to conquer a mountain it is all so exciting, but there comes a point where it stops being fun and just gets difficult, this came about half way through this book for me!
Did I enjoy reading it? Sometimes, but largely not really. It had none of the excitement of her earlier work and I do like to get myself caught up in the action or lost in a story. This one has so little to get lost in, but so much to think about, it just seemed a little too much like hard work at times! Oh well, I can always summon up Mr Y again.