Monday, January 26, 2009

The End of Mr. Y

When in high school I found the philosophy lessons - compulsory for a student of classics at that time, nowadays the Swedish high school curriculum seems such a muddle I have no idea how it works or what it consists of - quite a treat, notwithstanding the very less that exciting teacher. Philosophy was such a mind and eye opener, although I could also imagine how those thoughts and ideas could easily turn the mind as well as life into something quite, quite different. Not always in a good way.

But as my mind like to be of use, as my thoughts like to work I thoroughly enjoy books and ideas that keep me thinking, that keep me questioning, that keep me interested, that keep me evolving. Just the kind of book I've now finished, the first book I carefully chose to begin my new year with, the one book that will set the standard of my year if you will, "The End of Mr. Y" by Scarlett Thomas.

What can I say, other than I'm so very happy that I did step into that bookstore just to browse a bit that day. That I did pass that corner and that shelf with that book in an intricately amazing cover, a foretaste of an intriguing story on the back cover with promising cries of mesmerized reviews sharing the space. And that I return to buy it a couple of days later, letting it bide its time in my ever growing to-read-heap of books I can't resist getting - I rarely borrow books, I want them to be mine, mine, all mine forever and ever... - , allowing it to be my number one of 2009.

It was a most wonderful and utterly satisfactory first read. I was spellbound from the first page - admittedly from the first time I set my eyes on the book... - and it certainly did turn out to be as ingeniously intelligent and delightfully masterpiecey as the voices on the cover claimed. And then some.

The book itself is written in a way that's so easy to embrace - I most always find that the best books are the ones written in first person singular, with that often comes an intensity other books just don't master - and the quirky original story offered an enthralling literary roller coaster ride, with great care taken to details. The narrative web enlacing so many different subjects - such as thought experiments, philosophy, love, quantum physics, time travel, homeopathy, s*x, religion, paradoxes (got to love those!), animal rights, biology... - making it a truly enchanting read. With a beautiful ending to the wild literary ride for people who, as the author says, can never escape language and metaphors.

I loved, still love, my first book of the year. Do read if you want a mind and thought evolving experience set in a brillantly told story. Many of the suggestions presented in the book still haunt me in an interesting way, as more than worth to explore chaplets of ideas. This book will keep me returning for more.

And yes, it does remind me of another wonderful special calamity read last year, as well as kafka shore.


aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Fascinating. That's going straight on my list. I can never have enough books...

Pia K said...

One can't live without cats nor literature - this book is a great example of that, so, do get asap, AFoS.

Terry said...

Dear Pia K
You are such a fascinating person!
You weave your posts with such enthusiastic words that it almost makes me want to get back to reading books.
I used to try reading at least one book a day.
When I was in high school, I used to fail at Mathematics, but I excelled at Literature and Geography and American and European History because of my love of reading.
I think that you would make an excellent teacher because of your love of learning, yourself.
I always found that if the teacher seemed bored at what he was presenting, it was a very flat class, and I usually didn't amount to anything in the course they were teaching.
I am glad that our paths have crossed Pia K and when I read some of your posts to Bernie, I think that he is glad too....Love Terry

PS Don't you just love my Felisol?
You have the same loving and caring characteristics as she does!!

Pia K said...

Oh, I'm touched, what a grand comment, Terry!! I'm so glad you think so, I actually find blogging to be a really good way of not only sharing but learning new and exciting things myself, that's so interesting that you pick up on that I think. And no, my favourite subject wasn't mathematics either...;)

Yes, Felisol seems like a sweet person with endearing and personal reflections both in her own blog posts as well as comments on others.

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