It’s been quite a while since I last wrote about books. Now I’m going to try and drag this whole Writing About Books idea back out of the darkness!
Previously, I tended to write about a selection of books by an author. From now on, I’ll probably write more about single books, as I read them.
…of course I’ve read half a dozen books since I last wrote about any, so it’s catch up time.
I’ll start with the book I read most recently: The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas
What the blurb says:
“When Ariel Manto uncovers a copy of The End of Mr. Y in a second-hand bookshop, she can’t believe her eyes.She knows enough about its author, the eccentric Victorian scientist Thomas Lumas, to know that copies are exceedingly rare. And, some say, cursed.With Mr. Y under her arm, Ariel finds herself swept into a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel.”
What drew me to read this book is the mention of time-travel, curses, and overall air of mystery. Although it took me a little while to warm to the main character, I was soon sucked into the storyline and couldn’t put the book down!
One important thing to note is that this book will make you think.
It is by no means a light holiday read. It plays around with ideas of science, of philosophy, of religion.
But don’t let that put you off!
The End of Mr. Y really is worth the read, because it will make you think. It’s intelligently-written and refers to real historical figures and ideas (such as Einstein and his theory of relativity) alongside the fictional ones.
Whilst The End of Mr. Y is fiction, some of the questions and ideas within have been – and are still being – explored in the real world: by scientists, theologians, philosophers and so on.
It also remains a little uncertain about whether it is written from an atheistic or a theistic point of view. God is there, God isn’t there, God is created by us, God created us. It sounds contradictory but makes the story all the more interesting and I like that it isn’t too pushy with religion in either direction (though I suppose anyone could argue with me on that point. It depends how the individual interprets the storyline).
A couple of quotes:
“I may ask: why do I have an infestation of mice? Did someone curse me? Or did I just leave too much food out one day to tempt them? Or is life just as simple as there are mice?”
“‘Fact’ is a word. Science itself is just a collection of words. I’m guessing that truth exists beyond language, and what we call “reality”. It must do; well; if it exists at all, that is.”
These two quotes might seem a little hard-going or ‘out there’ but again, don’t be put off or misled on the basis of these. A good fifty percent of the book is easy to read and whilst thought-provoking, it isn’t mentally taxing. The day I began reading this book I was feeling lethargic and under the weather but I sailed through the first 250 or so pages with ease!
This has already become a favourite book, favourite enough that I found it a place on my bookshelf instead of storing it in the cupboard with other books. (Only favourite books and interesting-looking books make it onto that bookshelf, so its new home is alongside The Historianand Cat Spells.)
I will definitely be looking out for Scarlett Thomas’ other books!
The TLDR: This is a thought-provoking adventure-fantasy novel that presents ideas from science, religion, philosophy and more within a fantastic storyline. Read it!