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The End of Mr. Y

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The End of Mr. Y Cover

ISBN13: 9780156031615
ISBN10: 0156031612
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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?

With The End of Mr. Y, Scarlett Thomas brings us another fast-paced mix of popular culture, love, mystery, and irresistible philosophical adventure.

Review:

"In Thomas's dense, freewheeling novel, Ariel Manto, an oversexed renegade academic, stumbles across a cursed text, which takes her into the Troposphere, a dimension where she can enter the consciousness, undetected, of other beings. Thomas first signals something is askew even in Ariel's everyday life when a university building collapses; soon after, Ariel discovers her intellectual holy grail at a used book shop: a rare book with the same title as the novel, written by an eccentric 19th-century writer interested in 'experiments of the mind.' The volume jump-starts her doctoral thesis, but her adviser disappears. And when Ariel follows a recipe in the book, she finds herself in deep trouble in the Troposphere. Her young ex-priest love interest may be too late to save her. Thomas blithely references popular physics, Aristotle, Derrida, Samuel Butler and video game shenanigans while yoking a Back to the Future — like conundrum to a gooey love story. The novel's academic banter runs the gamut from intellectually engaging to droning; this journey to the 'edge of consciousness' is similarly playful but less accessible than its predecessor, PopCo." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Delicious cross-genre literary picnic, breezy and fiercely intelligent, reminiscent of Haruki Murakami." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Smart, stylish and dizzying....This is more fun than it sounds, and more fun than it has any right to be, thanks to Thomas's ample storytelling ability....Consider The End of Mr. Y an accomplished, impressive thought experiment for the 21st century." Gregory Cowles, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[A] combination of postmodern philosophy and physics, spine-tingling science fiction, clever, unexpected narrative twists, and engaging characters all on one wild drug trip. With this book, Thomas...has moved into first place." Library Journal

Review:

"Exhilarating. A compulsively absorbing thriller. Mr. Y burorrws into the reader's brain, stoking a desire for real-world exploration." Time Out New York

Review:

"British author Thomas bites off a bit more than she can chew....Thomas' mildly amusing second offering aspires to be both wonky and hip: her protagonist obsesses over philosophical matters one moment, her lamentable love life the next. Chick lit for nerds." Booklist

Synopsis:

When Ariel Manto uncovers a copy of The End of Mr. Y in a second-hand bookstore, she can't believe her eyes. Copies are exceedingly rare, and everyone who has ever read it — including its author, Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas — has disappeared.

Ariel can't resist the promise in the books history and its pages, and so steps into a thrilling adventure of time, space, love, death, and everything in between.

Synopsis:

Ariel Manto has a fascination with 19th-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.

About the Author

Scarlett Thomas is the author of PopCo. She was named one of the twenty best young British writers by the Independent on Sunday in 2001 and Writer of the Year at the 2002 Elle Style Awards. She teaches writing at the University of Kent and lives in Canterbury.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Neva Knott, April 20, 2013 (view all comments by Neva Knott)
The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas is a page-turner. The story matter is refreshing and unique--an examination of life's big philosophies and intellectualisms. It is not a dry examination, by any measure. Readers are taken through the daily life of a money-deficient PhD student, her sexual exploits and her search for a rare book. Once she finds the book, the plot shifts into travel into the minds of others as Ariel works to find her disappeared advisor/professor. As Ariel travels between her daily existence in a cold flat and time in the Troposhere, she debates with other characters, including a human-sized mouse god who is kept alive by a cult of 11 boys in Indiana, the mysteries of life, those spiritual and intellectual. This long novel is well-written and never preachy. It's a fun, thinking-person's book.
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bitindistinct, August 19, 2012 (view all comments by bitindistinct)
I [parenthetically] spoil a lot of things. But in some sense you the future reader already know these things anyway because of the nature of time and stuff.

So (and this is not a comprehensive synopsis or even a balanced, considered reflection of a much better thing than I could ever write) our heroine is a starving student (English lit) who hangs around a university talking about how everything is quarks and electrons like no one ever goddamn heard such a thing and keeps at it until the fourth wall is in ruins and you’re kind of in an argument with a novel. That plus Derrida and Baudrillard (yeah, imagine that). Sadly though she doesn't take the postmodern elevator All the Way Down and start critiquing say empathy for rodents or the experience of being exploited by a lover as just narrative constructions that someone performs according to an arbitrary mess of significations like a crappy actor trying to do a bad commercial. So she never tells the romantic lead, Watch as I deconstruct our relationship narrative into a hollow simulacrum of love. (Or maybe postmodern knock-knocks and shell games are just for the rest of us.) Also and unlike any English lit person anywhere these days she hasn't heard of William Gibson or any other fictional example of another world we see through representations. [Specifically the technological plus wacky religious kind of representations. . . . Had to cut some hyphens. Weird.] Actually she first does get the idea (“This must be the effect of TV...”), then acts shocked at it in a few pages (“Are you saying...”). That's some postmodern quantum narratology there.

Anyway things all boil down to words and quarks (and all the knowledge in between physics and literature/theory seems pretty superfluous). “Of course people still debate all those classifications. Are two similar fish actually one sort of fish or two?” All in how you look at it. Maybe saltwater and fresh are just Coke and Pepsi. OK, sorry. And later, even quarks are just things to think with. Information. So it's theoretically possible to add up bits of information and get a generic tree without needing an external environment shaping the tree, or maybe by thinking the whole environment it needs subconsciously, every variable, like a good old all-powerful god. (Several years back an artist exhibited 1,000 clones from the same walnut tree. They were far from identical.) These irrelevant sciences in between even have an avatar, a molecular biologist who’s a straight buffoon, doesn't remember quarks and needs quantum physics explained to her by a postmodernist grad student (I’m no kind of scientist and I get the overspecialization point but I still don’t think there’s a molecular biologist who’d take that from King Kong) and has no inkling meditation has been studied by brain scientists for decades now and lumps it with “woolly, superstitious stuff.” But then she's the child of a lesser science. If people aren't doing poststructuralism or quantum physics (or pop quantum physics) they can all go along telling themselves about the origin of species and the Big Bang--or the Young Earth or whatever. All just stories.

[But about the story, it turns out humans can do quantum superpowers in a quantum thought world (In it you travel according to a rule made out of Newton and Pythagoras. Quantum teleportation is actually getting to be some kind of reality. But entanglement--not even mentioned?) but just don’t realize it. Unless we get the secret formula, which is . . . homeopathics and holy water (and there's one of us with extra power because she thinks in machine code or something but somehow is not a rain person). And there’s a possible explanation for how that secret formula power could end up being true. But it’s an explanation for why anything imaginable could be true and isn't even spelled out--that I can recall. And churches have special superpower effects that stadiums and singles bars and casinos should have too but don't because . . . sexy religious guy.]

Another thing, there’s Americans (including, um, an American God) who don't even bother to sound American. (“Fuckface”? Movies.) What's the point of having us? No one would have missed us. You have these secret agent men who can't handle an arson job or a background check or so much as hire a goon for a kidnapping. These guys don't belong in anything suspenseful. But then along these lines the Victorian author of the book within the book is also pretty dull and short of style, and after he's built up as this mysterious eccentric.

[And then after a lot of quantum hyperreality talk, there’s a guy named Adam. And a garden.

But there's no real End.] Consciousness is indestructible. It's everything. No freaking escape. [Those two better keep liking each other because for all I can tell they'll be together literally forever, if you can exist that long and not go insane.] I wish consciousness would get over itself. Or at least things could be as in e.g. Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, where the fabric of the universe is not just information, it's information that's ridiculous. That's much easier to take--and in this case more appropriate.

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mcdcarter, September 21, 2007 (view all comments by mcdcarter)
One of the most interesting and imaginative books I have recently read.
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(6 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780156031615
Author:
Thomas, Scarlett
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Subject:
Visionary & metaphysical
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Visionary & Metaphysics
Subject:
Metaphysics -- Fiction.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
October 2006
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.00 x 5.31 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Metaphysics » Fiction

The End of Mr. Y Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Mariner Books - English 9780156031615 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Thomas's dense, freewheeling novel, Ariel Manto, an oversexed renegade academic, stumbles across a cursed text, which takes her into the Troposphere, a dimension where she can enter the consciousness, undetected, of other beings. Thomas first signals something is askew even in Ariel's everyday life when a university building collapses; soon after, Ariel discovers her intellectual holy grail at a used book shop: a rare book with the same title as the novel, written by an eccentric 19th-century writer interested in 'experiments of the mind.' The volume jump-starts her doctoral thesis, but her adviser disappears. And when Ariel follows a recipe in the book, she finds herself in deep trouble in the Troposphere. Her young ex-priest love interest may be too late to save her. Thomas blithely references popular physics, Aristotle, Derrida, Samuel Butler and video game shenanigans while yoking a Back to the Future — like conundrum to a gooey love story. The novel's academic banter runs the gamut from intellectually engaging to droning; this journey to the 'edge of consciousness' is similarly playful but less accessible than its predecessor, PopCo." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Delicious cross-genre literary picnic, breezy and fiercely intelligent, reminiscent of Haruki Murakami."
"Review" by , "Smart, stylish and dizzying....This is more fun than it sounds, and more fun than it has any right to be, thanks to Thomas's ample storytelling ability....Consider The End of Mr. Y an accomplished, impressive thought experiment for the 21st century."
"Review" by , "[A] combination of postmodern philosophy and physics, spine-tingling science fiction, clever, unexpected narrative twists, and engaging characters all on one wild drug trip. With this book, Thomas...has moved into first place."
"Review" by , "Exhilarating. A compulsively absorbing thriller. Mr. Y burorrws into the reader's brain, stoking a desire for real-world exploration."
"Review" by , "British author Thomas bites off a bit more than she can chew....Thomas' mildly amusing second offering aspires to be both wonky and hip: her protagonist obsesses over philosophical matters one moment, her lamentable love life the next. Chick lit for nerds."
"Synopsis" by , When Ariel Manto uncovers a copy of The End of Mr. Y in a second-hand bookstore, she can't believe her eyes. Copies are exceedingly rare, and everyone who has ever read it — including its author, Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas — has disappeared.

Ariel can't resist the promise in the books history and its pages, and so steps into a thrilling adventure of time, space, love, death, and everything in between.

"Synopsis" by , Ariel Manto has a fascination with 19th-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.

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