Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Tragic Universe

I just finished Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas.  She's one of my favorite authors and I'd been anticipating this book for awhile (since February, in fact).  It didn't come out until September 1st, not May like I'd previously heard.  I ordered it right away, but didn't start reading it immediately - I was almost nervous to begin.

And now I'm through it.  And it was good, though I don't know if I like it more or less than her other books.  It's very similar to them: the main character is an intelligent, rather unhappy young woman, and different topics are explored (like code breaking in PopCo) and discussed by the characters.  But it's less eventful, less action-y.  I liked it.

She talks a lot about the plotting of novels, and how we have an idea of what a typical narrative should be, and we try to fit that narrative onto real life, to the detriment of real life.  I like that.  It's easy to see yourself as part of a movie or novel - depending on your worldview, maybe it's a tragic novel, maybe it's one where you triumph, whatever - and see events as all fitting into a story somehow.  It's more interesting to consider life as what Thomas calls a storyless story, where there aren't the traditional three acts, there aren't heroes and villains, etc.  This sounds like a way of saying everything is meaningless, but I don't intend for it to.  It's more that things are richer and more complex than we can even realize.

No comments:

Post a Comment